BBC 2 November 2010 Last updated at 17:42 GMT
Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of boy wizard Harry Potter for their role in the dwindling number of wild owls.
He said that Harry Potter books and films featuring his feathered friend Hedwig are popular in India and had contributed towards the demise of owls.
Mr Ramesh said there had been an increase in people wanting to buy them from illegal bird traders.
He was speaking to mark the launch of a report on India’s owl population.
Written by the leading conservation group, Traffic, the report calls for tougher measures to protect owls ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which is being celebrated on Friday.
It says that thousands of owls are traditionally sacrificed on “auspicious” occasions. Keep reading at BBC