Ornithologists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) have condemned the use of egret's feathers for ornamentation during festive and social occasions. They said the birds are being poached for their feathers.
"We found an advertisement, where the groom was wearing a turban with an egret feather in it. It sends out a wrong message," said Atul Sathe, manager (communications) at the BNHS. Sathe said egrets are targeted by poachers for their ornamental plumage during the breeding seasons in March and September, he said.
"The plumes are known as aigrettes or ospreys in the wildlife trade. The Gulgulawa and Kurmi-Baheliya communities from eastern India are usually involved in poaching egrets. They sell the feathers to middlemen and retailers," Sathe said, adding that the feathers are used to decorate the 'dhaak' or drums used during Durga puja celebrations.
"The irony is that most post-harvest festivals celebrate natural beauty and the bountiful crops. Instead, they have become occasions to target these birds for their plumes. Not only does the practice raise serious conservation issues, but also throws light upon the manner in which we have deviated from tradition," Sathe said.