The owls in India had better take the sky or at least a high tree. Apparently parents are trying to capture them for their children thanks to the Harry Potter stories.
“Fascinated by Harry Potter’s ‘Hedwig’ owl from the famous movie and novel series, urban middle class parents are gifting their kids with the real bird, which is one of the main reasons for its dwindling population, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said. “Following Harry Potter (film), there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” Ramesh said on Tuesday after releasing a report on the illegal trade of the bird prepared by Traffic, an NGO working to curb the illegal trade of the endangered species.”
“This encourages illegal wildlife trade as due to pressure from their kids, the parents approach illegal traders in wildlife products to buy owls, he said requesting the parents to abandon these practices that threaten the country’s wildlife.”
“In his report, he gave an instance when he was asked by a friend to procure a live white-coloured owl for her son’s Harry Potter-themed 10th birthday party.”
“This was probably one of the strangest demands made to me as an ornithologist, he said asking the parents to not resort to such demands as “real owls do not make good pets because they need room to fly and hunt for food.”
But thankfully the report found that Harry Potter isn’t entirely to blame for the decline in owl numbers
“The report found that in addition to being used for occult rituals, owls in India are often used by street performers, killed for meat or taxidermy or are slaughtered so their feathers and claws can be used on clothing.”
I can’t imagine giving my child an owl for a pet (sharp claws, sharp beak, likes to be awake at night, likes to fly and hunt) but people do give odd pets to their kids. I had a friend in elementary school with a rat and my brother’s family has a crazy lizard that his kids just love.
What do you make of this owl-pet trend? Can you see it picking up in America? Is poor Harry Potter to blame? What unusual pet does your family have?