Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harry Potter killed my owl

Owls with "ears" are thought to possess greatest magical powers, so birds like this owlet are given false decorations

A former student in this class passed on this news report to me from the Time newsfeed:
Are Harry Potter Fans Killing India's Owls?
India has a problem, an owl problem, and the government is blaming Harry Potter.
Following a report released by conservation group Traffic this week, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh blamed fans of the Harry Potter series for the dwindling number of wild owls.

Check out the linked report, Black magic behind illegal owl trade in India, it's interesting and eye opening (albeit less Harry Potter related).

Shri Jairam Ramesh, Hon. Minister of Environment and Forest said at the launch, “Diwali should be a time for celebration across our nation, not one when our wildlife is plundered to feed ignorant superstition. India's wildlife already faces many pressures; the additional burden of being killed out of ignorance and fear is not one that has any place in our modern society.”

“Owls are as important to our ecosystem as the Tigers or any other better known charismatic species. It is important that the threat to owls is brought to light during the festival of Diwali and concrete ground action is undertaken to curb such trade” he further added.

The TRAFFIC investigation also finds that besides black magic, owls are trapped and traded for use in street performances; killed for taxidermy and for their meat; their parts are used in folk medicines; even their claws and feathers are sometimes used in headgear. Live owls are also used as decoys to catch other bird species. 

Just as an aside if any of you would like to see an owl in action then take a walk up the road that goes from the bridge between Devereaux Slough and the Ocean Meadows golf course towards the Venoco Oil storage containers at dusk. You access this road from Storke Road opposite the Santa Catalina Dorm. There are at least two large owls that hang out there that will silently swoop down at your head. I'd always heard this about owls but it is worth experiencing to find out just how silent they really are when they fly.  If you continue on into the Eucalyptus you'll then encounter a lot of bats at dusk which seem tiny after you've just been mugged by an owl. The bats tend to fly right at you and swerve at the last minute.

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