Long-term arrangements for voluntarily surrendered magpie ‘Molly’

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) is preparing the return of Molly the magpie, who was voluntarily surrendered on 1 March, to the family who took it in as a nestling in 2020.

Molly’s return hinges on the family applying for a licence and agreeing with a range of conditions that will ensure the best outcome for the animal’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

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

The decision to return Molly has been made in accordance with the Nature Conservation Act 1992, following extensive legal advice.

In Queensland, magpies and other wildlife protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, can only be cared for by licensed carers, who have demonstrated to the department that they have the skills necessary to provide the necessary specialist care.

DESI is now working with the couple who had been caring for Molly to ensure they have the appropriate license and training to properly home the magpie, with conditions including:

  • No ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image.
  • Undertaking wildlife carer training.
  • Advocating public education to encourage people to appropriately care for native wildlife and acknowledging the specialist skills required to care for and rehabilitate wildlife.
  • Ongoing engagement with DESI to ensure the bird is receiving adequate care and enrichment.

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

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