Why are owls disappearing across India? It's Harry Potter's fault

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

What's causing the wild owl population to dwindle across India? You might think it must be due to a new strain of avian disease or the weather, but no. The real reason ... is a series of books. (Or should that be movies?) Because according to India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, the blame lies with Harry Potter.

It turns out the boy wizard is so popular in India that it's led to a rise in people buying owls from illegal bird traders.

"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," said Ramesh in an interview with the BBC.

Abrar Ahmed, author of a report by the conservation group Traffic, decided to investigate the illegal owl trade after he was asked to get a white owl for a 10-year-old boy's Harry Potter-themed birthday party.

"This was probably one of the strangest demands made to me as an ornithologist," he said.

Bloomsbury, the publishers of Harry Potter, refused to comment.

We knew J.K. Rowling was responsible for killing trees, but we never expected this!

(via London Telegraph)

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker