Harry Potter is popular in India. The story of the boy wizard is so popular that Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blamed its fans for the recent drop in their numbers. A new report written by the leading conservation group in the country, Traffic, calls for the implementation of new measures to protect owls, which are being purchased on the black market as pets for children who want to use them for the delivery of messages as Harry Potter does.

"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Mr Ramesh said.

Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury declined to comment on Mr Ramesh's assertions.

The report's author, Abrar Ahmed, wrote that he decided to investigate the owl trade after being asked by a friend to procure a live white-coloured owl for her son's Harry Potter-themed 10th birthday party.

"This was probably one of the strangest demands made to me as an ornithologist," he wrote.

His research found that growing number of owls, a highly endangered species in India, are now being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals.

Read the full story on the BBC.