Molly the Magpie Returns Home with Restrictions

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Molly the magpie, the bird sensation on Instagram, has finally been reunited with her carers on the Gold Coast. However, there’s a catch: her caregivers are no longer permitted to profit from her 837,000-strong following on the social media platform.

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Source: The Project/YouTube

Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, Molly’s dedicated caretakers since her fall from the nest in 2020, have been granted a special license by the Department of Environment, Science, and Innovation.

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This license, though, comes with stringent conditions, one of which forbids the couple from making any “ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image.” Such conditions are standard for specialized licenses held by wildlife carers in Queensland and are intended to prioritize the ongoing health and well-being of the bird.

While Molly captured hearts worldwide with her unlikely friendship with the family’s Staffordshire bull terrier, Peggy, her popularity extended beyond social media. The couple even authored a book chronicling their heartwarming tale, likening it to a “real-life Winnie the Pooh and Piglet story.”

Queensland Premier Steven Miles voiced his Support for the couple after they surrendered Molly to the Department of Environment last month. However, he clarified that neither he nor Environment Minister Leanne Linard had the authority to order Molly’s return.

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The decision rested with the Department, which determined that Molly was too habituated to be returned to the wild and might have developmental issues. With Molly back in their care, Wells and Mortensen now face the task of fulfilling the advocacy and public education role mandated by the Department. Premier Miles expressed his intention to visit the couple on Friday to discuss the specifics of this role.

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 17 April 2024. Image Credit : Australian magpie photo by J. J. Harrison.

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