Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh blames India's declining owl populations on the wealthy parents of young Harry Potter fans who want their own pet owls to carry messages for them. However, there is also the little matter of
the traditional what wildlife group Traffic says is a trend to Diwali owl sacrifice.
"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.
His remarks came as wildlife group Traffic presented a report called "Imperilled Custodians of the Night" which warned about the declining owl population in India.
Researchers found that a growing number of owls were being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals.