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Peggy and Molly: Fresh twist after magpie seized by authorities: 'Not us'

It was revealed earlier this week that Molly the magpie was surrendered to authorities by couple Juliette and Reece who had cared for the bird since 2020.

Fundraising campaigns which claim to be in support of the effort to return Instagram-famous magpie Molly with its staffy best friend Peggy are not connected to the Gold Coast family, the social media stars warned online, telling fans "do not donate".

It was revealed earlier this week that Molly was surrendered to Queensland's Department of Environmental Science, forcibly given up by Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen after they had rescued the fledgling in 2020, but no longer held a permit to keep the bird in their possession.

The family became famous online for the bird's relationship with the couple's pet dog Peggy, and her daughter Ruby — with Wells even having a book published about them. Amassing over 700,000 followers on Instagram, the couple posted videos of Molly's interactions with Peggy, showing the bird and the dog playing together in daily updates.

Juliette Wells pictured here with Molly the magpie and her pet staffy Peggy.
Juliette Wells said she's 'devastated' after wildlife officials seized Molly the magpie from her care. Source: Instagram

Couple warns against online 'hate'

International headlines were made this week when Molly had to leave the home, with the couple imploring fans to sign a petition to help them get the bird back. In the days since people from all over the country, and in fact the world, have weighed in on the saga, with the couple now taking to social media to warn against "hate" being pedalled toward those who called for Molly’s removal.

"These three animals have sent a message loud and clear to the world about love, acceptance and unity in differences," the couple wrote in a joint statement.

The couple warned that while "we all have differences of opinions" they "have no idea why this small group of people have done this" — referring to the people who called for Molly's removal.

Pictured here is a 50/50 view of Molly the magpie and Molly and Peggy the staffy.
Wells said she found Molly as a chick in 2020, injured on the road. Source: Instagram

"We do please ask that YOU DO NOT spread hate or fear on these people as I know of one person who made a mistake of putting her name out in one of the articles AND IS IN FEAR of her safety and her families safety," the couple said.

"We also ask if you see any fundraiser asking for money to report and do not donate, this is not us".

Wildlife authorities step in after bird goes viral on social media

Queensland authorities do not permit such interactions between wildlife because they say it can lead to lifelong behavioural issues, and hamper the bird's ability to be successfully released into the wild.

Even the state's premier Steven Miles weighed in earlier this week, revealing his wish for the environment department to help train the couple to get the required qualifications to care for Molly again.

"What I’m suggesting now is we work with the family to get them that permit, so Molly can be reunited with their family," the premier said on Thursday.

Juliette Wells pictured with her book Peggy and Molly, and (right) an image shows the family's dogs together with Molly.
Juliette Wells with Peggy and Molly the magpie who have been featured in a book and on television. Source: Instagram

When Yahoo News Australia first contacted Juliette about the issue in February, she denied the bird was being “kept” in captivity, and didn't initially think a licence was required.

"We don’t 'care' for him in the way people have cockatoos or parrots in cages. Once he was well enough we taught him how to forage for food in the garden, we taught him to fly and be independent,” she said in a statement via a publicist. A petition, not a fundraiser, calling for the reunion has ballooned to more than 70,000 signatures so far.

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