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Warner Bros will stop use of owls at Harry Potter attractions

Warner Bros has confirmed that live owls will no longer be used at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations in Orlando, Hollywood and Osaka.

warner bros protego live owls

The Protego Foundation announced the news in a blog post, confirming that live owls will no longer be used at any live productions licensed by Warner Bros.

This includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Beijing Resort.

Tylor Starr, president and co-founder of the Protego Foundation, said: “The Protego Foundation is thankful to Warner Bros and the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team for honoring Hedwig, Errol, and other beloved owls.

“We learn in the Harry Potter series that owls are sensitive and remarkably intelligent birds who should be treated with kindness and respect. They shouldn’t be subjected to loud music, large crowds, and flashing lights.”

‘Owls are sensitive and intelligent birds’

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Japan in 2014. The opening ceremony included photo opportunities with live owls tied to a pedestal. The park stopped the photo opportunities following criticism from the Protego Foundation.

​”These inquisitive and spellbinding creatures have become so synonymous with the Wizarding World that it’s not surprising that the theme parks wanted to imitate the Potter films by bringing real owls into the mix,” said the Protego Foundation.

“But, as Hermione Granger and Newt Scamander would likely assert, there’s hardly anything magical about restraining owls to pedestals for photo ops.”

Warner Bros previously retired the use of live owls from productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child after an incident that endangered an owl in 2016.

Owls no longer used at Universal parks

In addition, the Protego Foundation is creating a website to record the use, abuse, neglect and exploitation of owls in the entertainment industry.

The website will also allow visitors to report any instances of live owls being used for entertainment purposes. The page goes live on March 31.

Attractions that feature captive cetaceans are facing growing pressure from companies including QantasBritish Airways Holidays, Tripadvisor and Virgin Holidays. Parc Astérix is also ending live cetacean shows.

Image: Protego Foundation

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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