Harry Potter and his trusty white owl, Hedwig, may be at the root of India’s owl problem.
The Harry Potter series is loved all around the world, and it seems India has taken this love to another level.
India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the BBC, “Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls.”
While Ramesh warns that protective measures for the species need to be taken, wildlife group Traffic warned that the owl population has been decreasing in the subcontinent.
Besides Ramesh’s statement that owls are being made household pets, their body parts have been used in black magic rituals.
Animal-rescue group, Wildlife SOS, told the Sify news service in India that they’ve been receiving inquiries about keeping owls as pets.
“Owls are commonly poached for black magic. But, yes, people have become curious after reading Harry Potter books, where mystical energy of owls has been shown,” co-founder of Wildlife SOS, Kartick Satyanarayan, says.
Consequently, “The illegal trade in owls runs undercover and there is a strong network,” says wildlife expert, Abrar Ahmed.
While the idea of an owl delivering messages is quite romantic and magical, this news is kind of disturbing! Leave Hedwig to Harry!