Family who rescued internet-famous Molly the magpie share first picture

The Nightly
VideoThe famous magpie is to be reunited with its Gold Coast family.

The family of Australia’s most famous magpie has shared the first picture of Molly since he was taken away 43 days ago.

The fate of Molly — first thought to be a she but now found to be a he — has gripped the nation after Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen were forced to surrender him to Queensland authorities in March following complaints over the lack of a permit.

Molly found fame and acclaim after Ms Wells and Mr Mortensen created an Instagram page, posting regular photos of his exploits with their dogs Peggy and Ruby. The page now has 822,000 followers.

Ms Wells and Mr Mortensen rescued the bird when he fell from a nest in 2020, before he formed a happy and wholesome relationship with dogs Peggy and Ruby.

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On Friday, Molly’s Instagram page was flooded with messages when a new picture of him was posted, along with the admission that the photo supplied to them by Molly’s current carers had brought them to tears.

“WE HAVE OUR FIRST PHOTO !!!!!! This photo was taken by the carers of Molly ( wherever he is ) and sent us yesterday. After 43 days . . .”

“We look forward to the day very soon to be able to see you with our own eyes and be REUNITED again,” they wrote.

The post triggered dozens of messages, outraged over Molly’s treatment.

“He has been in a cage for 43 days . He was FREE before . This makes no sense. my god it is so embarrassing,” wrote one.

Another posted: “In name of animal welfare the brilliant bureaucracy decided to put him in captivity. Thats govt for you.”

Earlier in the week, Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation was working with the couple to secure a permit and bring Molly home with strict conditions to assure the best outcomes for his health and wellbeing.

“Independent expert veterinary advice has shown Molly is highly habituated and may have developmental issues, meaning it can never be rehabilitated or returned to the wild,” the department said on Thursday.

Molly with Peggy and Ruby.
Camera IconMolly with Peggy and Ruby. Credit: Instagram

For Molly to return home, the couple can no longer receive commercial gain from the bird or her image and will need to do wildlife carer training.

They will also need to advocate for public education of native wildlife and work with the department to ensure Molly receives adequate care.

“Once the individuals have demonstrated they can and will meet the conditions, Molly will be placed with its former carers,” the department said.

Ms Wells and Mr Mortensen said it was great news that they would officially be Molly’s carers once formal approval given in the next few days.

“We are so grateful and can’t wait to have Molly home,” the couple said in a statement.

“We have followed the protocols and advice from the relevant departments and so once the paperwork is in place we will be able to bring Molly home!”

It is not yet known when Molly will be returned to the family.

— with AAP

Originally published as Family who rescued internet-famous Molly the magpie share first picture

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