Is 'Harry Potter' bad news for owls in India?

hedwigImage Credit: Everett CollectionAccording to a BBC report, Harry Potter might be partly responsible for India’s endangered owl population. Quick clarification: Nobody’s accusing the boy wizard of zipping around South Asia on a broomstick, smiting birds with his wand… yet. But according to a respected wildlife trade watchdog group, Harry’s pet owl Hedwig has turned the birds into a popular pet for Indian children, leading to a spike in illegal capture and sales of the animals.

This is hardly the first time Harry’s had a finger wagged at him: J.K. Rowling’s books have been accused of inspiring everything from tension headaches to teenage drinking. And to be fair, Indian officials aren’t so much blaming Potter as they are pointing out a link between the books and the rising fad of owl pets in their country. But what’s a wizard to do in a situation like this? Release a magical PSA in which a concerned-looking Hedwig (no makeup, feathers down, very non-profit chic) calls for an end to owl capture? Send flocks of Hogwarts-educated owls to repopulate the Indian forests? If anyone has any better ideas, please leave them in the comments. And in the meantime, head over to the Traffic website to find out what you can do to help end illegal animal trading.

Comments (25 total) Add your comment
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  • JJ

    Why not blame Harry for an increase in broom sales?

    • Anon

      Next thing will be owl mills [akin to puppy mills] that start cranking out owlets in record numbers. Then the children lose their enthusiasm for their pets, release them into the wild and suddenly India has an overpopulation of wild owls. Once again man screws the environmental pooch.

  • Dinosaur

    For goodness sake, don’t let them see the “Guardians” movie, or they’ll be dressing up their pet owls in little armor suits.

    • Tye-Grr


      • sahn


  • The Devil

    Well jeez, no need to be so dramatic Adam. It really is just ignorance. PSA messages, if possible, seems to be the best and hopefully most affordable solution. Just like all those PSAs I see for dog breeds when a movie comes out highlighting a certain breed.

  • CMU

    Yes, let’s blame a children’s book for people acting idiotically and irresponsibly. Maybe the blame should lie with the parents who are allowing their children to have owls as pets. Jeez.

  • Rush

    O Rly?

    • Lioness

      Quite Rly
      Hahahaha xD

  • Krystal

    This is hilarious.

  • Tye-Grr

    LMAO! Ya know, while we’re at it, I’ve seen far to many accidental deaths at train stations from kids trying to ram through brick columns in between the Platforms 9 and 10; it’s getting ridiculous!

    • Tye-Grr


  • Kelsey

    Let’s not possibly blame the idiot parents who buy their kids the owls, right?
    The first Deathly Hallows installment opens in two weeks and THIS is the best you guys can produce in terms of news? For goodness sake.

  • a person

    WOW seriously?…this is the most entertaining thing I’ve read recently… Why would anyone want a pet owl that can’t deliver mail?? i mean do people realize that these are FANTASY books???

  • Kevin Bassett

    *SPOILER ALERT* In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, Harry’s pet owl Hedwig is murdered by Voldemort. If kids knew their new pets were targets for evil wizards they switch back to cats, rats and toads.

  • Jerv

    I remember this happening back in the 80’s when midgets, dwarves, and other little persons were in high demand after Willow’s release.

    • Jennifer E

      LMAO! Good one!

      • Anon

        Happened after Time bandits, too.

  • yora

    hi harry..
    i like film yuo….

  • Smruti

    Hi daniel u r so handsome.I LOVE U.

  • justdeb

    I used to volunteer for the local county wildlife rehabilitation and rescue. There is no way I would keep an owl or any other raptor as a “pet”. When they pass thru what they eat–it comes out as fur and bones…ick. And these are popular pets in India???

    • Anon

      Keep in mind the general health and hygiene conditions on the sub-continent.

  • tresorparis

    You¡­are¡­amazing! This weblog is so great. I really hope a lot more people read this and get what you are saying, ¡¯cause let me tell you, it¡¯s critical stuff. I never would have thought about it this way unless I would run into your web site. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you¡¯ve excellent achievement.

    • Amber

      It must be fun to be an ivitned speaker at an event like that. Plus, Harry Potter is a fun topic to discuss.

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