Beloved birds taken from another family after 'paperwork error' then KILLED

Twins Paula and Bridgette Powers had cared for the birds for five years, before they were asked to hand them over to Queensland's Department of Environment.

A rare white bird and an exotic parrot that were surrendered to Queensland authorities by two licensed wildlife rescuers have been euthanised. The move has outraged twins Paula and Bridgette Powers who had cared for the birds for five years, but were forced to give them up due to a paperwork error.

Upon hearing the news on Friday afternoon, the women were heartbroken. “We’re never going to let this rest,” they told Yahoo News. “They should have given them back to us. We said if they didn’t work out with another carer we’d take them back."

They had believed the birds had simply been rehomed in another sanctuary and earlier this week, the Powers twins had called on the Queensland Premier to help secure their return.

 Paula and Bridgette Powers holding a pelican on the beach.
Paula and Bridgette Powers were mentored by the late Steve Irwin and are expert wildlife carers. Source: Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue

Highly experienced twin rescuers mentored by Steve Irwin

Last week Premier Steven Miles intervened in a similar case involving Molly the magpie – a bird with a combined 2 million social media followers across Instagram, YouTube and Facebook and the twins had hoped he could do the same for them.

The Powers sisters were mentored under the late Steve Irwin and run a dedicated volunteer rescue service under the name Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue and have a small online following.

They've been licensed to help the state’s wildlife for 24 years, but they didn't have the correct paperwork to house Bonnie the eclectus parrot and Lucas the rare white raven, so they were taken from their care.

“But it was just a mistake. But they said we did the wrong thing,” the twins claimed.

Bonnie the eclectus parrot (left) and Lucas the rare white raven  (right)
Bonnie the eclectus parrot and Lucas the rare white raven were seized by Queensland authorities and later euthanised. Source: Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue

Twins recall moment white raven was surrendered

Speaking to Yahoo News on Thursday, the twins recalled the moment Lucas the white raven was taken from them and became emotional. “When I had to catch him from the aviary, the poor little thing looked up at me with his beautiful blue eyes. I said: I’m sorry sorry you have to go,” one said.

“We don't know where she’s gone. We don't know if she’s still alive or not. Not a day has gone by without us not thinking about her.”

Queensland authorities explain why birds were euthanised

When news of the birds' euthanasia was broken, their local member Jason Hunter was with the twins.

The sisters had previously thought the birds would likely be rehomed in a sanctuary, but they claim calls for updates about the birds health from the Department of Environment (DESI) had gone unanswered.

On Thursday DESI told Yahoo the white crow had been released, but a day later it clarified this hadn't occurred.

Left - Wells and Mortensen and their two dogs and Molly the magpie. Right -  Molly on its own.
The twins had hoped their birds would be returned like Molly the magpie. Source: Peggyandmolly

“The ultimate goal of rehabilitating wildlife is to help get them strong and healthy enough to be able to return to the wild,” it said.

“In mid-2023, Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue was found to be keeping two birds - a white crow and an eclectus parrot – without the proper approval and they surrendered the birds voluntarily to the department.

“After being surrendered, both birds received high quality veterinary care in an effort to get them strong and healthy enough to be able to be rehabilitated. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, expert, independent veterinary advice was to humanely euthanise both birds.

“The department respects and appreciates the efforts of all rehabilitation permit holders who work hard – often at their own expense and in their own time – to ensure they are in full compliance with the legislation and the conditions of their permits, which are designed with animal welfare at the forefront.”

The white crow was initially handed to the twins by the RSPCA. The twins allege they were advised to ready the bird for a life in a wildlife sanctuary, however in a statement, RSPCA said the plan was for the bird to be released.

“A white crow came into our RSPCA Wildlife Hospital five years ago and was transferred to a wildlife rescue group for hand-rearing with a view to release back into the wild,” it said.

“The advice listed on the crow's animal record, recommended the crow be raised with other crows with the view to be released with them for best chance of survival in the wild. RSPCA's position is wildlife should not be humanised and should be treated and rehabilitated with the purpose of release.”

Premier Steven Miles did not respond to a request to comment earlier this week from Yahoo.

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