Author JK Rowling has responded to reports that endangered owls in India are being captured and/or killed as a result of their popularity in her “Harry Potter” books and films.
“There has been a spate of stories in the press recently concerning the upswing in popularity of keeping owls as pets, allegedly as a result of the Harry Potter books,” Rowling wrote on her website.
“If it is true that anybody has been influenced by my books to think that an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can: please don’t.”
The comments come after Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced that a report found India’s owl population in serious decline from poaching. “Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” he said. In addition, the magical qualities associated with owls in the films has found their increased use as sacrifices for black magic rituals; especially during the Hindu celebration of Diwali, which started last Friday.
“Diwali should be a time for celebration across our nation, not one when our wildlife is plundered to feed ignorant superstition,” Ramesh added.