Harry Potter with his snowy owl.
Harry Potter has been blamed for the dwindling number of wild owls in India, according to the country’s Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh.
Mr Ramesh said the craze for Harry Potter in India had led to an increase in people buying owls from illegal bird traders.
"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Mr Ramesh told the BBC.
A report by conservation group Traffic suggested tough measures should be put in place to protect owls from an upcoming Hindu festival – Diwali - because thousands of owls are sacrificed on Hindu "auspicious occasions".
The author of the report, Abrar Ahmed, decided to investigate the owl trade after being asked to get a white owl for a boy's Harry Potter-themed 10th birthday.
"This was probably one of the strangest demands made to me as an ornithologist," he wrote.
Mr Ahmed found that endangered owls are being caught, traded or sacrificed in black magic rituals, while others are killed for medicine.
"The sacrifice of owls on auspicious occasions appears to be a regular practice and [there could be] a possible increase in trade and sacrifices around Diwali," the Imperilled Custodians of the Night report says.
Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury declined to comment on the BBC report.
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