Baby Phoenix rises from the flames

EDITORIAL:Animals were at risk as well

BECAUSE of a firebug, this little fella has lost his home.

The baby Australian owlet-nightjar was found on the ground by an Albury firefighter at Sunday’s Nail Can Hill fire, suffering smoke inhalation.

The effect on his airways means he can’t fly and has had to be taken in by a local animal rescue carer.

Wildlife rescue group WIRES Murray River branch carer Chris Lythollous said she was sad and disappointed that arsonists had struck again.

“If they could just stop and think,” she said.

“This little bloke has been living in the community and playing a role in the ecology and fire destroys that balance.”

Ms Lythollous said bushfires destroyed the owlets’ nesting hollows, making them vulnerable to larger predators.

“Even though the firies saved the people’s homes, they weren’t able to save the animals’ habitats,” she said.

“Quite rightly, we often hear about the human element but we don’t hear about our wildlife.”

Ms Lythollous said she had named the owlet Phoenix, because “he rose from ashes”.

Phoenix will stay with her for up to 14 days, as he is suspected of having secondary pneumonia.

Owlets are the smallest nocturnal bird found in Australia, with males and females pairing up for life.

If you come across injured wildlife, contact NSW Wildlife rescue on 0427 493 716 or Victorian Wildlife rescue on 1300 094535.

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