Researchers from a British university published and article drawing attention to the danger of extinction of certain owl species thanks to illegal trade.
The study, published in “Global Ecology and Conservation”, points out that the increase of this animal’s illegal trade can be, in some way, connected to the Harry Potter series. In 2001, when the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released, only a few hundred owls were sold on bird markets in Indonesia. In 2006, this number outreached 13 thousand animals, according to researchers Vincent Nijman and Anna Nekaris.
In Indonesia, the animals are sold at low cost, between 10 and 30 dollars, value accessible to most of the families that want an Hedwiges as a pet. The big problem is that the owls put to purchase are taken mostly from the wild, which makes this practice illegal. Besides, the owls sold as pets are kept in poor conditions and many end up with very short lives.
After reading this news, J.K. Rowling took Twitter to condemn the practice that endangers owl’s lives.
I've just read a very disturbing story about owls kept as pets. Much like making Horcruxes, this practise belongs in fiction. Please don't.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 25, 2017
It is worth reminding that this is not the first time the author speaks out in defense of of these animals. In 2001, Rowling had already made a statement about the subject:
“If anybody has been influenced by my books to think an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can, ‘you are wrong. The owls in Harry Potter books were never intended to portray the true behaviour or preferences of real owls. If your owl-mania seeks concrete expression, why not sponsor an owl at a bird sanctuary, where you can visit and know that you have secured him or her a happy, healthy life.”