A man has been arrested here for illegal possession of protected birds, including three owls, forest department officials said on Thursday.
Apart from the owls, 14 parrots and more than 40 'munia' birds were seized when a forest department team raided Shyam Kumar's residence in Sotiganj at Gurudwara road here on Wednesday, they said.
"While the owls come under schedule 1, the parrots and the munia birds come under schedule 4 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which prohibits either confining or selling them," said Divisional Forest Officer Aditi Sharma.
The accused was intending to sell the confined owls which fetch handsome prices during Diwali.
"Owls are often sold and traded illegally especially during Diwali. Their popularity during this time stems from the superstition among people that sacrificing these owls will bring them wealth," said Sharma.
"A case has been filed against the accused under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972," she added.
Meanwhile, some people, who were opposed to the raid, pelted stones on the forest department personnel.
"A case will be filed against them with the police for causing obstruction in discharge of duty by government officials," the DFO said.