6 Nov 2010

Harry Potter fans blamed for demise of Indian owls

5:12 pm on 6 November 2010

Indian fans of the Harry Potter stories are being blamed for a drop in the number of wild owls in India.

A report this week from a wild-life group, Traffic-India, says many species of wild owl are illegally on sale in markets, and a growing number are being trapped or traded.

The report calls for tougher measures to protect owls saying that thousands are traditionally sacrificed on "auspicious" occasions, such as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The BBC reports that Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh said that Harry Potter fans who wanted their own pet owl were partly to blame.

He said that some people now had a strange fascination for presenting their children with owls as presents.

The report's author, Abrar Ahmed, wrote that he decided to investigate the owl trade after being asked by a friend to procure a live white-coloured owl for her son's Harry Potter-themed 10th birthday party.