Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bringing the spotlight back on the beautiful creature called the "Owl"

I love owls, they are such beautiful creatures. Growing up in Jhapa, I remember seeing a beautiful white owl for over five years. It used to love to sit on our very old Siris tree and scare us with its big staring eyes and ominous hooting sound. Then we cut that tree down and I never saw the owl again. Although not particularly fond of it, I did moan its loss for few days. Its picture is still vivid in my memory; I recall it today as an exceptionally beautiful creature, very 'wise' in appearance.

Owls are not talked much about, obviously they are not fancied as much as Rhinos or Tigers. But the thing is, owls are facing similar danger of extinction (at least few larger species are). In Nepal owls face extra threats because of cultural belief. A neck ring made of owl bones is thought to chase evil spirits away, giving incentive to kill owls. The smaller owls are considered helpful as they prey on mice and harmful insects and thus are less likely to be killed. However, the large owls are considered to be harbingers of death, which may help explain why the four endangered owl species are the larger birds. Owls are also facing danger because of habitat loss. I used to spot owls even in Kathmandu, but it’s a very rare sight now.

Photo credit: Back to Earth - Art works

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