Thousands of owls are at risk during a three-day festival in India that is normally associated with celebrating wealth.

Diwali, the festival of light also celebrates life. There are also people who still stick to superstition to attract wealth, curing fever and passing exams, that causes death to owls.

Owls are associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Diwali is also a period when the goddess of wealth is celebrated.

Thousands of owls are sacrificed for their parts, including the skull, feathers, blood and beak for black magic rituals. A barn owl cost $ 67 with an eagle owl becomes as expensive as $900. There are no estimates of the owls being killed for the illicit rituals.

The conservation group TRAFFIC said in a report that the practice is putting some species under threat. India has banned trade in wild birds.

"Diwali should be a time for celebration, not one when our wildlife is plundered to feed ignorant superstition," says Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister.