Queensland premier backs Molly the magpie’s reunion with pal

Queensland premier backs Molly the magpie’s reunion with pal

Queensland Premier Steven Miles says “common sense needs to prevail” and the government will work with the “owners” of Instagram star Molly the magpie after the bird was seized by authorities.

Molly rocketed to fame after she was taken in by Gold Coast photographer Juliette Wells and her husband, Reece Mortensen, as a fledgling during lockdowns in 2020.

Molly befriended one of the couple’s pets, an English staffy named Peggy, and cute photos of the pair taken by Wells quickly went viral.

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But the unlikely friends were separated earlier this month, with the couple saying they were left with no choice but to voluntarily surrender Molly to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI).

“It breaks our heart to make this announcement,” Wells said in a Facebook video on Tuesday.

“We had to surrender Molly to the Department of Science and Innovation as we had a small group of people constantly complaining to them.”

A DESI spokesperson said yesterday the couple allegedly did not have a valid rehabilitation permit.

But Miles said today his government was committed to working with Wells and Mortensen to ensure they could obtain the required permits.

“What I’m most interested in here is what’s in the best interests of that animal,” Miles told reporters.

“I think sometimes common sense needs to prevail, and in this instance, ensuring that they can legally take care of Molly is the best outcome for Molly as well as the family,” Miles said.

“I don’t want to see any of the rules broken, but there has to be a way within the rules to see Molly live out a happy life with the family.”

The environment department was ready to help train Molly’s “parents” to get the right certification, Miles said.

Mortensen previously said he had applied for a wildlife permit, but was asked to withdraw the application because of a perceived conflict of interest over the couple’s social media accounts.

News of the separation of Molly and Peggy caused public outcry yesterday.

An online petition calling for the pair to be reunited has attracted more than 60,000 signatures.

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