So sad to think that so many living things have endured such mistreatment and neglect all at the expense of a fad!
Due to the success of the Harry Potter book series and subsequent film adaptations, many sought out their own pet owls just like the young wizard had, but now that the final movie has been released, hundreds of the birds - which can live up to 20 years - have been abandoned all over England!
And while many have ended up overpopulating sanctuaries, others are being illegally released into the wild, and therefore disrupting the territories of other animals!
Pam Toothill, of the Owlcentre in Corwen, North Wales, explains:
“Before the films were out I had six owls, now it’s 100. It’s all down to Harry Potter. People saw Harry’s owl in the movies and thought how cute and cuddly they looked. Now they are bored and fed-up with all the work involved looking after an owl. They are quite costly to look after. Ideally you need a 20ft aviary, and that costs about £900. I know it’s not JK Rowling’s fault, but people didn’t think enough about buying an owl before getting one. Owls need enough space to be able to flap their wings five times before landing back on a perch, or they get a chest infection. But we had one lady who was keeping two owls in her bedside cabinet in her bedroom. And there was a chap with a European Eagle Owl, which has a 5ft wingspan, in his one-bedroom flat. It’s insane.”
And Kim Olson, who owns the Sanctuary Wildlife Care Centre, elaborates:
“When people saw Harry Potter loads of them wanted an owl. They’ve kept them in their shed or garage for a bit and now they’ve got bored and they hand them in to us. It’s illegal to release an owl into the wild because they would take over from the native wild owls, but obviously a lot of people have ignored that law.”
And even J.K. Rowling said herself:
“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.’ 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.”
Yeesh! She couldn't be MORE clear, and people still thought that their owl would somehow be the exception, and act like a dog?
Such a shame!
We sincerely hope that owl owners who may be thinking of letting them go take the time to ensure that these creatures are given a home at which they can live as they're supposed to, and not as some sort of gimmick in captivity.