Scientists have linked the «Harry Potter» with the disappearance of rare species of owls

© Photo : Nijman et al. / Global Ecology and Conservation (2017)Wild owls, caught by poachers in Indonesia<img src="/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/06/1992238d946dcf390105951e24a79aa1.jpg" alt="Scientists have linked the «Harry Potter» with the disappearance of rare species of owls” />© Photo : Nijman et al. / Global Ecology and Conservation (2017)

. The growing popularity of books about Harry Potter and the release of new films based on the novels by JK Rowling were associated with sharp reductions in the populations of wild owls in Indonesia, say environmentalists in an article published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation.

«I am fully confident that there is a relationship between «Harry Potter» and the rapid growth of illegal trade in owls. These books made a normal to keep owls as Pets. Now in Indonesia they are called not «bird-ghosts», Burung Hantu, and bird Harry Potter, Harry Potter Burung,» says Vincent Nijman (Vincent Nijman) from Oxford University (UK).

As the scientist explains, one of the symbols of the entire fictional Universe inhabited by Harry Potter in the novels by J. K. Rowling, is a Hedwig – the snowy owl, the pet of the main character of the book, part-time postman in the magical school Hogwarts, where Harry learns.

In the past, the emergence of popular books or movies about animals such as «101 Dalmatians» or «finding Nemo» has led to a surge of interest children and adults to these Pets and a dramatic expansion of trafficking. When visiting one of the illegal bird markets in Bali, Nijman noticed an unusually large number of owls in cages sellers. This gave him the idea that they can be associated with the series of books by JK Rowling and the movies based on their motives.

To test this hypothesis, he analyzed statistics on sales of owls in the markets of Indonesia for the past 30 years and followed the release of new films and books about Harry Potter in the last four years influenced the range of merchants-«illegals» on the Islands of Java and Bali.

As shown by this analysis to the beginning of the 2000s, when Indonesia appeared first book about Harry Potter, owls was virtually absent in the poultry markets, and not popular among buyers.

At the turn of the Millennium the situation has changed, and in recent years their share in the number of birds sold, as shown by his own observations of Nijman and his colleagues, increased by several orders of magnitude. Only in the last four years, this figure has increased nine times, and now each such market, as scholars have noted, every year is sold at two or three thousand «birds Harry Potter». Populations of many species of rare owls in Indonesia and abroad, according to Nijman, often less than the number of these birds sold in the markets of Indonesia.

Most importantly, peaks in sales of these owls were in 2013 and 2016, when printing out new books and new films in the universe of «Harry Potter». The main problem with this trade is the promiscuity of dealers makes no distinction between rare and common species of owls, their lowest price – the owl you can buy for about 500 rubles, and the absence of any restrictions on their sale.

For this reason, Nijman and his colleagues urge the Indonesian authorities to make the most of the owls in the number of endangered species and punishing poachers for catching and trading of such Pets.