India Scores an F on Its O.W.L. Exam

[caption id="attachment_8869" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Warner Bros."]Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"[/caption]

This just in: the Ministry of Magic has issued a warning to all owl owners declaring India a no-fly zone effective immediately.

That's as a result of that latest report from BBC News, which indicates that India's owl population is in serious jeopardy thanks in large part to overzealous "Harry Potter" fans.

Yes, it sounds like some kind of weird joke, but it's true: Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rebuked his country's Potter fans in a report on India's owl population, saying that, "following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls."

That, in turn, has contributed to a decline in the owl population, something that is of grave concern in a country where agriculture is vital to the welfare of the human population of 1.1 billion. Take away the owls and you get more parasites, rodents and insects feeding on the food. And that's not even getting into the effects a lower owl population would have on black magic.

Actually, that's not a joke either; turns out that the other major risk to India's owls is, in fact, magic, as thousands of owls are sacrificed each year either to celebrate the holiday of Diwali or in rituals that the Indian government decried as "black magic and sorcery driven by superstition, totems and taboos."

Talk about your defense against the dark arts.

So what can concerned Potter fans do? Well, step one is pretty simple: stop bogarting everyone's owls. For real. And honestly, even if you really need to nab an owl, you really shouldn't be going to India to get them anyway.

After all, that's what Ga'hoole is for.