Harry Potter Fans Blamed for Rash of Owl Kidnappings in India

Senior Editor
11.03.10 16 Comments

Japan enjoys a well-deserved reputation for all things batpoop loco, but India is headed to the top of the crazy chart with a bullet. Between bulldozing the Slumdog kid’s shanty like the villain in a Brendan Fraser movie, making a movie that makes Michael Bay’s movies look like cinema verité, and my personal favorite, hiring larger, more violent monkeys to control the population of smaller monkeys, India is easily my favorite story setting of the year. More to the point, today in wacky news stories, the popularity of Harry Potter (note: NOT Hari Puttar) has spawned an owl-trapping trend.

Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of Harry Potter for the demise of wild owls in the country as children seek to emulate the boy wizard by taking the birds as pets.
The hit books and films, which are popular in India, feature a snowy owl called Hedwig who is a feathered sidekick for the Potter character and used to deliver mail.
“Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” Ramesh said Wednesday, according to comments reported by the BBC.
Researchers found that a growing number of owls were being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals. [AFP via AV Club]

My favorite part of the story is the way the modern effortlessly co-exists with the ancient, almost as an afterthought.  “A western book about a boy magician has spawned a trend of pet owls among the urban middle class.  Oh, and some actual sorcerers have also joined in, hoping to use the owl parts for black magic.”

Sidenote: This Indian guy would make Harry Potter his bitch. God knows what he had to do to make that sloth bear so happy.

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