Owls are in danger in Asia because of Harry Potter mania

Everyone wants their own Hedwig

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Hedwig and Harry Pottervia Harry Potter

Owls are bloody cute, and in Harry Potter they're the type of pet that everyone wants. They carry your mail, nibble at your food, and might protect you from the odd curse (Hedwig is killed by a death spell aimed at Harry Potter). Except, as it turns out, they're pretty desirable in real life too. 

The Harry Potter books and films seem to be driving a huge rise in the number of wild owls entering the pet trade in Indonesia.

A study has found that wild owls are increasingly subjected to poaching to satisfy the demands of the pet market. Bird-keeping is popular in the country, but the survey of 20 Indonesian bird markets in Java and Bali between 2012 and 2016 found that owls are becoming very common. 

Prior to Harry Potter's translation into Indonesian in 2000, the birds weren't often sold in the country.

Prof Vincent Nijman, Professor in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University who conducted the study said: “What we have seen in Indonesia is a massive increase in popularity of owls in general and pet owl lovers organise themselves on social media to exchange information on how to keep owls, what owls are available as pets, and where to obtain them.

“In the 1990s, when surveying the bird markets I would typically see one or two owls for sale amongst the thousands of wild-caught birds on offer but equally often not a single owl was on display.

“Now, returning to those same markets we can see dozens of owls for sale of a wide range of species and owls are always present, all taken from the wild.”

It mirrors similar problems in the animal world. Following the release of Finding Nemo in, sales of clownfish rose by as much as 40 percent according to some estimates.

Game of Thrones fans are also reportedly buying and abandoning huskies.

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