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Is Harry Potter Responsible For India's Dwindling Owl Population?

India's environment minister blames fans of Harry Potter for playing a part in the demise of the country's wild owls, saying children's demands for their own Hedwig have led to an increase in the illegal bird trade.

"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Jairam Ramesh said today as a conservation group issued a report warning of the declining owl population in India.

According to BBC News, the report's author, ornithologist Abrar Ahmed, investigated the owl trade after being asked by a friend to procure a white owl for her son's Harry Potter-themed birthday party.

He also found that a growing number of owls are being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals or for medicinal purposes.

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