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Shattered ‘parents’ of Instagram star Molly the magpie fight back tears as they demand authorities return the ‘thriving’ bird back to his staffie friends: ‘Why can’t a wild magpie decide where he wants to live?’

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A couple behind a viral Instagram page that made Molly the magpie a star have made an emotional plea to authorities to return the bird to their home.

Molly became a global phenomenon when wildlife enthusiast Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen, from Coomera on the northern Gold Coast, told the story online of the unlikely friendship between the magpie and their Staffordshire terrier pet dogs, Peggy and Ruby.

The trio shot to fame, attracting two million followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and starred in a book filled with photos of the unlikely companions, as fans gushed over the ‘very special’ relationship between the three animals.

However, authorities said the native bird could not be kept without a licence and seized the animal.

In a new video, Ms Wells appeared to fight back tears as she said the decision had left the couple ‘devastated’, with the dogs losing their ‘best friend’.

She said the the Department of Environmental Science and Innovation (DESI) had first shown up on June 13 last year and demanded they surrender Molly.

‘We refused as he was thriving in the trees surrounding our property and had been accepted here.’ she said.

Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen have said they are 'devastated' that magpie Molly had been seized and that their dogs Peggy and Ruby missed their 'best friend'

Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen have said they are ‘devastated’ that magpie Molly had been seized and that their dogs Peggy and Ruby missed their ‘best friend’

The trio shot to stardom, attracting two million followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and the blogger even published a book filled with photos of the 'unlikely companions'

The trio shot to stardom, attracting two million followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and the blogger even published a book filled with photos of the ‘unlikely companions’

After a discussion the department officials left and they assumed they were allowed to keep the bird but they later returned and Molly was ‘voluntarily’ surrendered earlier this month.

‘We did everything in our power to work with the department including training…’ Mr Mortensen said.

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Do you think Molly the magpie should have been taken from its ‘owners’?

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The couple are now asking their followers to write an email to local MP Michael Crandon and the director-general of DESI to review the decision to seize Molly and launch an investigation into how DESI officers handled the case. 

Molly was seized on March 1, with DESI confirming that a magpie was ‘voluntarily surrendered’ to officials. 

‘It is alleged that the bird was taken from the wild and kept unlawfully, with no permit, licence or authority being issued by DESI,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia. 

Commenters on the video shared their outrage over Molly being seized by authorities.

‘This is a classic example of bureaucracy over common sense and humanity. Our tax-payer funded departments should be using their resources to help out the community and save mis-treated wildlife, not harm them,’ one said.

‘This is nothing but animal cruelty to take this bird away from his home which he has chosen himself,’ added another.

On commenter asked why Mr Mortenson to explain why he did not get his wildlife permit. 

‘The organization I got my permit through was advised that having me a member could compromise their license and all of their carers would also lose their permits leaving thousands of animals without carers,’ he said.

It is understood strict conditions apply to wildlife permits which are generally only issued for rehabilitation or when an animals cannot be released into the wild. 

Molly became a global phenomenon after Ms Wells, a blogger from Coomera in Queensland, started creating content highlighting the unlikely 'interspecies friendship' between an Australian magpie and her pair of staffies

Molly became a global phenomenon after Ms Wells, a blogger from Coomera in Queensland, started creating content highlighting the unlikely ‘interspecies friendship’ between an Australian magpie and her pair of staffies 

Queensland's Department of Science, Environment and Innovation confirmed a magpie was 'voluntarily surrendered' on March 1

Queensland’s Department of Science, Environment and Innovation confirmed a magpie was ‘voluntarily surrendered’ on March 1

Queensland legislation bans native wild animals from being domesticated because of the possible impact on wildlife. 

Animals that are sick, orphaned or injured can only be rescued and cared for by those who hold a rehabilitation permit and intend to release them back into the wild.

But Ms Wells denied the bird was being kept in captivity and insisted that Molly had been taken in by her family when the bird was apparently abandoned in 2020.

‘We don’t ‘care’ for him in the way people have cockatoos or parrots in cages,’ her publicist told Yahoo News Australia

Molly was originally thought to be a female by Ms Wells, but is actually a male and the name stuck.

The publicist added: ‘Once (Molly) was well enough, we taught him how to forage for food in the garden, we taught him to fly and be independent.’

Ms Wells first took Molly home in 2020, suspecting he had been abandoned by her parents. 

She believes the magpie ‘looked really weak and not well at all’ but made a full recovery.

Ms Wells took Molly home in 2020, suspecting it had been abandoned by its parents

Ms Wells took Molly home in 2020, suspecting it had been abandoned by its parents

Ms Wells was first asked to surrender the bird six months ago when authorities visited her home but she was unable to capture the bird as it was in a tree.

She has continued sharing videos of Molly and her dogs on social media – most recently posting a clip of the pair lounging on a dog bed – despite Molly having now been surrendered, .

DESI is currently focused on finding a home for Molly, who now can’t fly like a normal magpie would.

‘Unfortunately, it has been highly habituated to human contact and is not capable of being released back into the wild,’ the spokesperson said.

‘A process is currently underway to have the magpie placed at a suitable facility.’

Investigations are ongoing. 

‘Animals in rehabilitation must not associate with domestic animals due to the potential for them to be subjected to stress and the risks of behavioural imprinting and transmission of diseases,’ the government spokesperson added. 

‘Animals from the wild, must stay wild.’ 

Some fans of Molly have launched a Change.org petition to reunite the bird with Ms Wells, Mr Mortensen and their dogs. 

‘Peggy and Molly, a beautiful Staffy and Magpie who have been raised together on the Gold Coast for four years, they share an unbreakable bond,’ the petition states.

‘This bond is not just emotional but also crucial to their well-being. Please join us in our plea to reunite Peggy and Molly.’



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