A rare snowy owl was having a hoot yesterday after being nursed back from the brink of death following a lifetime of abuse and neglect.
Two-year-old Merlin lost almost all his feathers and was suffering from severe malnutrition after being neglected by his cruel owners.
An eagle owl in the same filthy cage – owned by a private collector – died after months of under nourishment. But now – thanks to the love and support of “Dr Doolittle” Diane Lewis – Merlin is enjoying a new lease of life.
The bird was rescued from his home in Somerset by the RSPCA and rehomed with Diane and husband Colin Stobbs, 49, on the Isle of Arran in May.
Diane, who has no formal training, nursed Merlin back to health after watching hours of Wildlife SOS on TV and bird care videos on YouTube.
Peter Venn, manager at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Rescue Centre, which rescued him initially, said: “Snowy owls are not native to Britain but are found in northern Europe. Usually the snowy owls we find are raised in captivity.”