Molly the magpie and Peggy the dog one step closer to reunion after Queensland environment department offers help

Molly the magpie and Peggy the dog one step closer to reunion after Queensland environment department offers help
  • PublishedMarch 28, 2024

Authorities have stepped in as the nation demands a positive outcome.

reunion between Molly the magpie and dog Peggy is one step closer, with the Queensland environment department willing to provide wildlife carer training to a Gold Coast couple.

“The environment department stands ready to train Molly’s parents to be wildlife carers, to get that certification, so Molly can be reunited with the family,” Premier Steven Miles said on Thursday.

Miles has backed the reunion after officials sparked a furore by removing the magpie from the care of Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen — who made Molly and Peggy famous by posting their cute antics online — because they are not authorised wildlife carers.

“What I’m suggesting now is we work with the family to get them that permit, so Molly can be reunited with their family,” the premier said.

“What I’m most interested in here is what’s in the best interests of that animal, and if the department can work with the family to reunite them in a way that is legal, I would support that.”

Meanwhile, Australian wildlife experts have revealed they are copping vile abuse from people angry over the removal of Molly.

One wildlife carer, who did not wish to be identified, has rubbished the criticism, going so far to tell the magpie “shouldn’t be returned” to the home despite a huge online push for the reunion.

“If DES (the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation) let people get away with this once, then what’s to stop everyone else,” the woman said. has seen examples of the abuse being received by the carer over her support for the department’s removal of Molly.

Another carer told the Gold Coast Bulletin she and her son have received death threats for holding the same views.

The woman has pointed the finger at the department, saying it should have removed Molly sooner, as the bird’s friendship with Peggy blossomed and gained a social media following of more than 700,000.

“There has to be a line. DES should have moved way earlier,” she said.

“At the end of the day, if one person is allowed to do this, what’s stopping every other Tom, Dick and Harry keeping a pet magpie, a joey or having a kangaroo hopping around in their backyard.

“We have laws we have to follow as carers, where even carers are not allowed to keep an animal automatically.”

She also said the Wells and Mortensen should have taken Molly to the vet soon after finding him. The couple claimed they brought the magpie home after finding the bird injured in a park.

The couple said this week that a “small group of people constantly complaining” led to wildlife officials’ seizure of Molly.

A petition to return the magpie to their home has gained more than 50,000 signatures.

Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen have spoken about the seizure of Molly the magpie.

Molly is currently in the department’s care as it looks for a suitable facility for the bird, which is too domesticated to be released back into the wild.

Since the animal was seized, Wells and Mortensen have not been able to see the treasured bird, but they are not giving up hope of a magical reunion.

“I hope my support for that campaign can get Molly back home,” Miles said.

The department said in a statement this week that Molly was allegedly “taken from the wild and kept unlawfully, with no permit, licence or authority”.

“To keep a native animal that originates from the wild, a person must have a permit, licence or authority to lawfully have the animal in their possession,” the department said.

“Animals that are sick, orphaned or injured must go to a person who holds a valid rehabilitation permit, which are issued to people who have demonstrated skills, knowledge and experience dealing with and caring for native animals.

“The purpose of rehabilitating native wildlife is to provide care so that the animal can be released back to the wild.

“When an animal is being rehabilitated, it must be done in a way that minimises humanisation and allows it to exhibit natural instincts and behaviour.”


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