A graphic video that showed an endangered hornbill being beaten with a stick and stamped on by locals in India has prompted officials to arrest three accused.
The incidence of the Great Indian Hornbill’s torture occured in the country’s northeastern Nagaland state and was tweeted by People for Animals India on Wednesday.
“A video of an Endangered Great Indian Hornbill being tortured in Wokha District, Nagaland went viral,” the animal welfare organisation said in its post.
In the video, a man is seen whacking the bird on its wing cartilage with a stick while other men on the spot hold the bird tightly by its wings.
The bird falls to the ground, its wings dropping after the men let go of them.
One of the men can be seen pressing his left foot on the bird’s neck as the hornbill — visibly in pain — lies on the ground. The man continues to stamp his foot with all force and then reaches out to clamp the hornbill’s beak shut with his hand.
It is not immediately clear when the assault on the endangered bird took place.
Officials have said the three accused have been held under the Indian Wildlife and Arms Act and will not be released on bail.
“After PFA’s intervention, the Chief Wildlife Warden Mr Vedpal Singh arrested the three accused under the Wildlife and Arms Act. They will not be released on bail,” PFA said.
The graphic torture of the bird has sparked anger on social media as people condemned the actions of the locals, seeking stricter punishment.
James K Sangma, a politician from the neighbouring state of Meghalaya, also took to Twitter and confirmed the bird had died from its injuries.
“I’m deeply saddened and horrified about the brutality committed by a group of people against a Great Indian Hornbill that was tortured and killed in Nagaland. It is concerning to see how people commit such acts against animals instead of working toward caring for and protecting them,” Mr Sangma said.
“Just came across this video of absolute MONSTROSITY being meted out on a Great Indian Hornbill – an endangered bird protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act – in Wokha, Nagaland,” said Shreya Jain, a freelance journalist on Twitter.
The Great Indian Hornbill is treated as a national treasure because of its categorisation as an endangered species in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature red list has clubbed the Great Indian Hornbill as vulnerable.