The Department of Environment has confirmed it’s preparing to return beloved magpie ‘Molly’ back to its Gold Coast home.

The bird was voluntarily surrendered last month after the local couple who took the animal in came to the attention of authorities over concerns it had been taken from the wild illegally.

The Department found the couple did not have the required permit to care for native wildlife and seized the magpie, sparking outrage from thousands of people who signed petitions calling for it to be returned.

Molly the Magpie shot to internet fame a couple of years ago over an unlikely and adorable friendship with the couple’s pet dog, an English Staffy named Peggy.

The pair’s close bond was shared on social media, with the pair gaining millions of followers, even securing a book deal.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)

Following a major campaign to reunite Molly with her new-found family, the Environment Department today announced that the Magpie will soon be able to return home, with a number of conditions.

“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,” the statement said.

“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 protected wildlife can only be cared for by licensed carers, who have “demonstrated they have the skills necessary to provide the necessary specialist care”.

The Department says it’s now working with the couple to ensure they have the appropriate license and training to properly home the magpie.

Some of the conditions include no ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image, undertaking wildlife carer training, and ongoing engagement with DESI to ensure the bird is receiving adequate care and enrichment.

The Department said once the couple has demonstrated that they “can and will meet the conditions” Molly will be able to go home.