India’s first owl festival held in Pune
India’s first owl festival was held at Pingori village in Purandar taluka of Pune from November 29. The two-day festival, organised by Ela Foundation (an NGO working towards nature education and conservation), will give information on owl conservation and feature art forms like pictures, paintings, lanterns, lamp shades, posters, origami, stitched articles, poems and stories on owls. It is a first-of-its-kind festival, which was organised with the intention of creating awareness about owl as a bird and debunking numerous superstitions associated with it. According to a report published by Traffic India and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2010, owls were found to be consumed and traded for a wide variety of purposes, including black magic, street performances, taxidermy, private aviaries/zoos, food and in folk medicines. Despite being protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, the report has found owls to be highly prized and in demand for black magic purposes.