The Department of Wildlife Protection J-K has warned of strict action as per law involving imprisonment as well as a fine against anyone involved in capturing owls or any kind of hunting activity.
The notice in this regard came following the reports of several incidents of alleged capturing of owls from some parts of the valley over the past month.
After a few photographs of the owl species, especially the Barn Owl and Tawny Owl, being captured surfaced on social media, the wildlife department issued a notice warning that capturing, coursing, snaring, trapping, driving or baiting of any wild animal, including wild birds, comes under the definition of “hunting” which is a punishable wildlife offence under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“A person committing such an offence shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to 20,000 rupees or both,” the department warned.
Anyone coming across a wild bird which has been accidentally injured or seems to be in distress should not attempt to handle or rescue the bird on his/her own but immediately contact the wildlife department on the phone number 9796171787 or through email [email protected], the notice reads.
Why do people catch owls?
Dr Bilal Nasir Zargar, a wildlife biologist, said: “There is a myth in Kashmir that keeping an owl’s nails wards off evil. People catch them and cut their nails off and they eventually die, due to which the population of owls has declined drastically.”