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Harry Potter Blamed For India's Disappearing Owls 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the even-muggles-want-one dept.
GillBates0 writes "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. '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."

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Harry Potter Blamed For India's Disappearing Owls

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  • Diwali (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @12:26AM (#34120792)

    Right, and it absolutely, positively has nothing to do with diwali [thehindubusinessline.com]. Move along, move along. Blame Harry Potter!

    • This should be in the summary :/ +1,000,000 insightful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837)

      Right, and it absolutely, positively has nothing to do with diwali [thehindubusinessline.com]. Move along, move along. Blame Harry Potter!

      Sacrificing a species into extinction... Did India learn nothing from the Ilwrath?

  • Hands with 4 fingers, kids wearing eyepatches, and all the M. avium & Cryptococcus infections.

  • Uh... oooookay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fieldstone (985598) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @12:29AM (#34120814)
    I'm amazed to be the first saying this, but clearly the problem here is not Harry Potter, it's parents who aren't willing or able to tell their children "no". An owl is not a pet.
  • How endangered? (Score:1, Informative)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

    The original source for this article, an article by the World Wildlife Fund's TRAFFIC division, explains this problem as one of illegal trading in the birds and the illegal capturing of wild owls.
    http://www.wwfindia.org/news_facts/?4940/Black-magic-behind-illegal-owl-trade-in-India [wwfindia.org]

    The word "endangered" is used in several articles referencing this problem. However, no article provides the wild owls' population numbers. Endangered species should be protected, but it should be shown that the species are indeed

    • by xaxa (988988)

      endangered

      I don't have time right now, but you could find the scientific (Latin) names and query the IUCN Red List (there's a website). Common names might work too.

      Sometimes Wikipedia includes the information (under either or both names), e.g. for this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_Owlet [wikipedia.org] (LC = least concern, which means it's been evaluated and isn't endangered).

  • by gijoel (628142)
    They've got seven years to perfect replicant technology [wikipedia.org] anyway.

    /sarcasm
  • Right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fieldstone (985598)
    Yes, clearly the problem is Harry Potter rather than lousy parenting. If a child wants something that's both impractical and could be damaging to the ecosystem, a responsible parent says, "I'm sorry, but you can't have that." Real children are a lot more reasonable than Veruca Salt. And seriously, I'm amazed no one has made the comparison with baby alligators yet.
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Yes, clearly the problem is Harry Potter rather than lousy parenting. If a child wants something that's both impractical and could be damaging to the ecosystem, a responsible parent says, "I'm sorry, but you can't have that."

      Part of the problem is that all too often, the "bad" children then gang up on the would be "good" child and then proceed to convince them that the "good" parent is actually a horrible, horrible person/parent for not providing them everything to which they are inherently entitled. The "good" child is then left with a simple decision to which the parent frequently has no idea is going on. Either be accepted by your peers and turn on your parent, or be an outcast and maintain a strong relationship with your pa

  • My fascination with owls came much earlier than that, namely Farley Mowat, and reading Owls In The Family [wikipedia.org]

    Course other than seeing a few in the wild and in zoos, I've never tried to capture one.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What if it is actually the demise of the wild owl that causes the popularity of Harry Potter?
  • The owls didn't see that coming....

    Oh my! I think I made even myself ill.
  • ...for our own weakness and stupidity? Hooray! Hey honey, it wasn't me that was unfaithful, it was Harry Potter. Damn that evil genius socerer! Burn him at the steak (with chips please)!

  • And exactly how are they catching wild owls? Have you ever tried to catch a wild bird? The closest I've ever gotten to a wild owl was probably 30 feet. Well, with one exception, but it had a broken wing, was blind in one eye, and was being nursed back to health by a local farmer.

        I seriously doubt children have any significant impact on wild bird populations. I haven't known too many children who are good enough to build a trap for any sort of animal.

    • The summary says they are being gifted by parents.

      Of course this tells a whole different story [thehindubusinessline.com]. I think it's far more likely these birds are being slaughtered for Diwali than being gifted as Harry Potter toys o_0

      • But the Harry Potter angle gets more pageviews, so they'll go with that.
      • by powerlord (28156)

        The summary says they are being gifted by parents.

        Of course this tells a whole different story. I think it's far more likely these birds are being slaughtered for Diwali than being gifted as Harry Potter toys o_0

        Have you seen how rabid Harry Potter fans can be?

        I wouldn't be surprised if they start out as Harry Potter fans and then slide over to Diwali once they have an owl to sacrifice. ... Yeah ... thats it ... Harry Potter is just a GateWay delusion.

        • Have you seen how rabid Harry Potter fans can be?

          Can't say I have. Certainly not as crazy as the Dr Who fans anyway.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Culture20 (968837)

            Have you seen how rabid Harry Potter fans can be?

            Can't say I have. Certainly not as crazy as the Dr Who fans anyway.

            I know, right? The last Daleks were sacrificed when the new Dr. Who series was launched, and they had just started breeding successfully in captivity!

    • by Urkki (668283)

      And exactly how are they catching wild owls? Have you ever tried to catch a wild bird?

      How far from our noble genocidal hunter-gatherer origins we humans can fall? Catching something like birds is pretty trivial with a bit of experience and some kind of a trap or a net (the original kind, not the computer kind...). As soon as there are enough people with motivation, anything can and will be casually hunted to extinction, unless it's good at literally going underground.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        Most of the world shifted from being hunter-gatherers (with some exceptions) to agrarian systems an awful long time ago. For most civilized countries, hunting became a sport, not a means of survival. For the most part, we survive on domesticated animals and farm raised plants, which are purchased in local stores. There are exceptions, but those are few and far between, and even then, you probably wouldn't be posting to Slashdot if you were there.

        Don't try to fool yourself, o

        • by Urkki (668283)

          Most of the world shifted from being hunter-gatherers (with some exceptions) to agrarian systems an awful long time ago. For most civilized countries, hunting became a sport, not a means of survival. For the most part, we survive on domesticated animals and farm raised plants, which are purchased in local stores. There are exceptions, but those are few and far between, and even then, you probably wouldn't be posting to Slashdot if you were there.

          Don't try to fool yourself, only a very small percentage of those living in modern society could live without our modern infrastructure. Ask your average city dweller to catch a pigeon.

          If that average city dweller could gain a lot (relative to his situation, for example $50 per bird or something in New York) by catching pigeons, you'd see pigeon population plummet, hunted by those very city dwellers. It'd be matter of weeks before those city dwellers would be very proficient pigeon hunters (provided the pigeons would not run out before then).

          Not to mention, this was about India. With what... 800 million poor, many of who would gladly hunt owls if they got any money from it. Now let's say

  • It could be worse. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What if they were all getting pet Alligators, and then when they got bored, flushing them into the sewers?

    What horrors!

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      What if they were all getting pet Alligators, and then when they got bored, flushing them into the sewers?

      What horrors!

      Bored alligators are very dangerous.

  • Wait till they finish the later parts of the series. Dragons and snakes will be gone too.
  • I suppose it won't be long before movie producers and book publishers are required to do research, prepare environmental impact statements, and seek approval before they can publish a film or distribute a book

    Something tells me, a few public service announcements, and temporary moratorium on trafficing of owls, and fine/jail time for capturing an owl without a permit, could end the idiocy fairly quickly.

    • While it does mention it in the story, they seem to be getting the order of things backwards. I suspect there are far, far more owls being sacrificed than there are ones being given as pets.

  • Wait till they get to the later parts of the series. Dragons and snakes will be gone too.
  • Catching a carnivorous wild animal on their own. Doesn't seem likely - even given that they're nocturnal.

  • to ban your children from reading fiction.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @01:03AM (#34121054) Journal
    ... to have an owl as a pet in the first place?
  • by seyyah (986027) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @01:13AM (#34121128)

    ... there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls ...

    Hoo knew?

  • There was no rush on owls reported anywhere in Europe or the US that I recall. Is Harry Potter more popular in India, or do Potter fans in India just get much more into it?

  • ...we shouldn't blame the people who actually TOOK the owls.

  • Too bad they didn't have pet politicians in the book instead of owls.
  • Imagine if they started to emulate Harry Potter's friend in NYC. Sounds like a public service to me. Sure someone right now is thinking of a way to use it a tax write-off.
  • To bad they didn't have pet politicians in the movie instead. I wouldn't mind some disappearing politicians myself.
  • They overheard their kids that they loved that "O RLY?" picture.
  • O'RLY?

  • To bad they didn't have politicians as pets in the movies I wouldn't mind having less of them around, or maybe lawyers.
  • What we waiting for? Lets kill the insensitive little clod!
  • by formfeed (703859)
    I had no idea Harry Potter could be as bad for owls as Peter Pan was for crocodiles.
  • ...think about the owls?!
  • OMG. (Score:3, Funny)

    by koolfy (1213316) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yflook}> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @01:40AM (#34121288) Homepage Journal
    Owl my god.
  • Stop killing owls for your sick, sadistic pleasure. Hedwig is dead, get over it.
  • Surely defanging a cobra and sewing its mouth closed so your baby can play with it is stranger.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OR--0zJoIs [youtube.com]
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @01:48AM (#34121320)

    These people are going to find out rather quickly why owls are among the worst possible animals to keep as pets. [festivalofowls.com]

    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      Fascinating. Thanks for sharing that.

      i heard tell that owls like to go for the eyes when they feel threated. i can handle a nasty cat scratch or dog bite, but having an owl pluck out my eyeball is just unnacceptable.

  • by eyrieowl (881195)

    leave out the part about the Pure One's stealing their young away in the night to work as slaves in the fleck mines.... *that's* all a myth...it's the wizards, really!

  • It was worth getting my ear pecked to a bloody stump!

  • by eyrieowl (881195)

    leave out the part about the Pure Ones coming and stealing their youth away in the night to work as slaves in the fleck mines. *that's* just a myth...it's the wizards. really!

  • I would think that upper classes would just import an already magically trained Owl from a breeder "somewhere else", where breeding has been outsourced (Indonesia? :) ), and lower and/or rural middle classes would just catch their own in the wild...

    Which leaves only "urban middle class" to try to aquire one on an open market, so, no surprise there!

    (and yes, I do like owls, no harm wished towards them, as opposed to the summary editors! :) )

    Paul B.

  • by eyrieowl (881195)

    leave out the part about the Pure Ones coming to steal their young away in the night to work as slaves in the fleck mines. *that's* just a myth...it's the wizards. really!

  • 'Jaws' effect... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VinylRecords (1292374) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @02:05AM (#34121408)

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/fl-endangered-sharks-20101030,0,1055241.story [orlandosentinel.com]

    This happened with sharks after Jaws and continues to this very day. The original author of Jaws, Peter Benchley, said that he regretted writing the novel and the creation of the film because it lead to the mass killing of so many species of sharks.

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/books/news/article_1097132.php/Peter_Benchley_author_of_Jaws_dies_at_65 [monstersandcritics.com]

  • It sounds like................ a real hoot
    YYYYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
  • This sounds like some sort of Harry Potter Cargo Cult [wikipedia.com].

  • First post! Such a buzz kill to be on such a lame topic.....
  • silly stories like this as the hype campaign ramps up in the run up to release day...
  • People started taking dogs and cats as pets and you don't exactly see them going extinct.
  • Now we know what happened to Puff the Magic Dragon.

  • Ah (Score:2, Informative)

    by Reilaos (1544173)

    But is anything to blame for Slashdot's disappearing comments?

  • To bad they didn't have lawyers or politicians as pets in the movies, I wouldn't mind them disappearing.
  • Easy fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @03:00AM (#34121622)

    The next Harry Potter (or other such insanely popular movie) should feature wild killer possums with rabies as pets. That should take care of the problem.

    • Re:Easy fix (Score:5, Informative)

      by cnaumann (466328) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:29AM (#34122710)

      Possums are one of the few wild mammals that really don't carry rabies. Being slashdot I felt obligated to point that out.

      • by Jethro (14165)

        Dude, he's a WIZARD. If he wants to give a possum rabies I don't think YOU can stop him.

    • The next Harry Potter [...] should feature wild killer possums with rabies as pets.

      Too late [flickr.com]

  • Why he calls it strange? It's rather obvious that people (especially chldren) emulate they book heros.

  • ...predators with fast reflexes and sharp talons and beaks?

    I'm sure Harry Potter will be blamed for India's increase in child-owl related injuries.
  • Don't forget the high demand in children for thick rimmed glasses.

  • This reminds me of my little sister's christmas wishlist she left on the fridge. One of the items reads "Kitten OR IPod Touch".

  • This reminds me of my little sister's Christmas wishlist she left on our parent's fridge. One of the items reads "Kitten OR IPod Touch".

  • I had no good thing to say 20 minutes ago. Then I happened restarting the browser, the story refresh and it's showing no comment. This is just not an interesting topic for nerd.
  • When I was a kid growing up in Oregon, we kids almost "collected" the Spotted Owl to extinction and we didn't need any Harry Potter books to do it.

    Them owls are good eatin.

  • by AdeBaumann (126557) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:07AM (#34121862) Homepage

    Maybe JK Rowling can write another book that has Harry ditch his owl for an alligator. Bam - Problem solved.

  • Strigiformes Obscuro! Wonder when the effect wears off?
  • Well you can't account for the fuckwit effect. Put a suggestion in a fuckwits head and they'll follow it.
  • People are blaming Harry Potter / J.K. Rowling for the demise of owls? How about blaming the steaming idiots who are trying to have owls as pets. The fault lies squarely with them.

  • Perhaps they are disappearing due to massive pollution and the owls eating prey that has been munching on and concentrating poison.

    I really find it difficult to believe that kids getting owls are indeed at fault. However, thanks to the captive population that will become established, maybe India will be able to reintroduce its owls once they stop polluting their environment as badly as they are now.

  • I Don't believe it. Harry was innocent, he's been framed by Draco
  • inB4 "O RLY!"
  • Stupid title (Score:3, Informative)

    by _merlin (160982) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:08AM (#34122332) Homepage Journal

    They aren't blaming the fictional Harry Potter for the demise of the owls - they're blaming fanbois. I'm sure everyone here on Slashdot can empathise with blaming ills on fanbois.

    • Yeah, fantasies regarding supernatural mammalian-type beings seem to be very common among members of the human species. I even heard one about an invisible man in the sky who has a list of things that people shouldn't do, upon pain of punishment, but it doesn't seem that the ones who worship him get punished when they do those things. Indeed, many of them gain lots of riches and control over their fellow members of that species. Who would have thought?

      Might be a superstition, who knows? /sa

  • They'll all be driving flying cars.
  • Researchers found that a growing number of owls were being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals.

    If they are killing owls in black magic rituals, they either have a pretty strange translation of Harry Potter, or very bad reading comprehension. Or maybe somebody did not understand that not every trend that started some times after 1997 is caused by Harry Potter.

  • First post! (Score:3, Funny)

    by xaxa (988988) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:41AM (#34122512)

    Delivered by owl [wikipedia.org]

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:06AM (#34123264) Homepage Journal

    to voluntarily lodge a nocturnal killing machine in your own home.

    • For the record, and not that this is going to help the problem, small to mid-size owls are peaceful and surprisingly easy to get along with, far less willing and able to attack handlers than hawks, eagles, or particularly vultures. I've done work with raptor rehab and have dated two falconers and most everyone prefers working with owls.

      When my mom was a child one of her uncles had an owl that had self-domesticated. It lived in their house, and they left a window open for it to fly in/out. They couldn't

  • by arielCo (995647) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:54AM (#34124324)
    O RLY?

"Don't discount flying pigs before you have good air defense." -- jvh@clinet.FI

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