From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, Aug 7: A White Owl, 1 ft high and 2 ft long, of spherical shape, considered endangered, was rescued by a social worker, Shibu Dutta, of Monkhush tea garden, an outgarden of Dilkhush tea estate in Cachar. According to him, the unique bird was trapped by some tribal boys of Narayandahar and they were preparing to roast it for food. On learning about their intention to kill the bird, he moved up Narayandahar by boat on river Barak, the only means of communication in the remote areas of the eastern part of Cachar, bordering Manipur.
Dutta, a lover of nature and its flora and fauna, convinced the tribal boys about the need to protect and preserve it as a rich treasure of the wilds. He could persuade them to part with the owl and for that he paid them Rs 1500. The bird was brought to his home last Saturday and is being well looked after by him and his family members. The owl would be released in the wilds of the area after some time, Dutta pointed out.
Prof B K Dutta, head of the department of ecology and environment, identified the bird as Barn Owl which is highly endangered and is facing extinction. Usually, as he said Barn Owl is seen in pair and near human habitats. But, the changing and often traditional food habit of tribals make owl the target of their menu. This practice has to go if the various species of birds has to survive and for this NGOs engaged in the campaign of ‘save nature’ should carry out awareness among the tribals as well as non tribals living in close proximity of nature to give up the habit, Prof Dutta pointed out.
It is interesting to know that in Indian culture, a white owl is considered a companion of the goddess of wealth, and therefore a harbinger of prosperity. The owl has been adapted as an emblem to reflect its implications of wisdom (Wise old owl) by a revered military institution in India known as the Defence Service Staff College. In colloquial use, however, it is commonly used to refer to stupidity
Many cultures have myths, stories and superstitions featuring owls. These nocturnal creatures often appear in horror mystery films, have been associated with dark and haunting night themes. Their wide staring eyes give them a wise appearance, while the ability to turn their head around makes them fascinating and mysterious creatures. Tuffs of feathers on the top of an owl’s head gives them the appearance of horned devils and their piercing cries add to the spook effect found in the ancient folklore of many countries.
To some the owl is a bird of ill omen, to be feared and respected; to others, a wise and benevolent creature. Because of its nocturnal lifestyle, it is generally associated with the night, the moon, darkness, death and misfortune. It has been called night eagle and cat with wings.
However, owls have also been associated with wisdom and prosperity.