India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh blamed the country’s illegal trade in owls on the usual suspects–blackmarket medicinal and religious uses–and on one very unusual suspect: a fictional boy wizard.

“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. His remarks came on the release of a government report entitled Imperilled Custodians of the Night. Details are here. (Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the tip.)–David E