People will go to great lengths to imitate pop culture characters they adore, and Harry Potter fans are no different. Forget the cheesy Halloween costumes and silly accents: Some fans even adopted pet owls after seeing or reading about them in Harry Potter lore. Now, with the series all but completely old news, fans have apparently lost interest in their feathered friends and released them into the wild — or, apparently, anywhere in the United Kingdom.
According to The Mirror, hundreds of the predatory birds have been flooding owl rescue organizations since the end of the Potter movie series, and an untold number are still cruising around the country. Many breeds of owl make life tough for other birds, and the sudden influx may have a damaging effect on local ecosystems and other bird populations, not to mention the numbers of native wild owls.
But it's not just the owls that are paying the price; Anyone caught releasing an owl into the wild can face up to six months in jail and a fine of over $7,000. Potter fans who need to give up their pets are encouraged to take them to a wildlife sanctuary where they can be cared for, rather than letting them "accidentally" fly out the window.
This article originally appeared on Tecca
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