A barn owl that was struggling to fly on a road was rescued by an assistant sub-inspector of Tangra police station on Saturday night.
The officer took the injured bird to the police station, where it was given water. Later, the cops brought a plastic crate used to store milk packets from a nearby shop and the owl spent the rest of the night in it.
The police alerted the forest department, which took the injured owl to its Wildlife Rescue and Transit facility in Salt Lake on Sunday morning.
“The one-and-a-half-year-old owl has suffered injuries on a wing and a leg. The injuries were possibly caused by a kite string,” a forest department official said.
Most of the owls found in India belong to species listed endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are also protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The bird being taken to the Wildlife Rescue and Transit facility in Salt Lake. The Telegraph picture
Santosh Kumar Mondal, 59, the officer of Tangra police station who picked the injured bird from the road, said he was on his routine night patrol when he spotted the owl struggling to flap its wings on Tangra Road.
“The owl looked scared and was trying desperately to fly but it could not. Several people had gathered around it. Stray dogs had surrounded the bird and were waiting to pounce on it,” said Mondal.
“I picked the bird from the road with the help of some residents. We had to be careful because of the sharp talons and the beak of the bird.”
The officer called up the Wildlife Rescue and Transit facility around 10.20pm. The forest department official who answered the call told Mondal that they would send a rescue team in the morning. The team reached the police station around 11am.
“There is a cut on one of the legs and several cuts on a wing. Antiseptic solution has been applied on the wounds,” said deputy ranger Sibananda Jodder of the Wildlife Rescue and Transit facility.
A plateful of chicken and water have been kept in the owl’s cage at the centre. Forest department officials hope the bird could be released in the wild by next week.
There are more than 200 species of owls in the world. India has around 33 species.