Barn Owl Hunter, Maharashtra

Paramvir Singh

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Hunting of and trade in all Indian owl species is banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 of India. Hope the Maharashtra forest dept. takes action against these offenders.

On 7th March, in rural Maharashtra, I came across a few young men coming out of the forests near Vajreshwar adjacent to the newly declared Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. We were a little off the road towards a tiny hamlet called Lendipara.

It was shocking to see they had come out with a dead barn owl which they had freshly hunted with a catapult. The young boy was more than happy to pose with his sick ‘trophy’, and when asked repeatedly why he would kill this harmless bird, he says ‘to eat’, which is obviously a lie. After taking a few pictures, this young man got suspicious and was joined by few more people, who started asking me why I was shooting pictures. So I left.

The region is a beautiful natural undisturbed landscape which has Tungareshwar Wild Life Sanctuary on one side and rolling hills on the other. Wish this could be included in the protected area. I had written to the DFO Thane Region, and received no reply (as yet). I am sure the villagers are regularly hunting wild animals and birds in this region. I wish one could stop them. Perhaps publishing this image on Conservation India will bring some attention to this menace.

Black Magic is another huge threat for owls in India. Read TRAFFIC India’s investigative report on CI entitled “Imperilled Custodians of the Night.”

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