Licence to trill: Molly the magpie returned to Queensland carers after special wildlife permit granted

Licence to trill: Molly the magpie returned to Queensland carers after special wildlife permit granted
Margaret Davies

Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen are allowed to keep the bird, which had become Instagram famous with their staffy, Peggy, but are forbidden from monetising it.

The Guardian reports that Molly the magpie has been returned to its Gold Coast carers - but they are no longer allowed to make money from its 837,000 Instagram followers.

The department of environment, science and innovation approved a special licence for Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, who have cared for it since it fell from the nest in 2020.

The licence comes with several conditions, including that they will not make any “ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image”.

These conditions are standard for all specialised licences held by wildlife carers in Queensland and ensure the best outcome for the bird’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

The department has also required the family undertake an advocacy and public education role, encouraging people to appropriately care for native wildlife and acknowledging the specialist skills required to care for and rehabilitate wildlife.

Molly went viral on Instagram after striking up an unlikely friendship with the family dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier called Peggy.

Aside from the globally popular Peggy and Molly page, the couple also published a book about what they called a “real-life Winnie the Pooh and Piglet story”.

Queensland premier Steven Miles threw his support behind the couple, after they surrendered the animal to the department of environment last month.

The premier and the environment minister, Leanne Linard, did not have the power to order the animal returned.

“I understand that Molly’s carers now have the appropriate permits under the nature conservation act,” Miles said on Monday. “So Molly has been returned home to be with her family at around 11.30am this morning.”

In a statement, the department said independent veterinary advice showed the animal was too habituated to be returned to the wild and may have developmental issues.

Miles said it was not yet clear what form the advocacy and public education role will take, but he plans to visit on Friday.

(Story source: The Guardian)

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