Magpie put down after life in a cage and put on lead
A JUVENILE magpie has been euthanized after it was found "placed in a small cage", kept on a lead and fed the wrong diet at a Gold Coast home for almost a year.
The young bird's death has sparked pleas from wildlife officials not to feed, keep or trade native animals without relevant permits.
A member of the public alerted Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services alleging the magpie was being illegally kept at a Gold Coast home.
QPWS' Wildlife and Threatened Species manager Frank Mills said officers had inspected the home and seized the bird in May.
"(The officers) discovered the magpie was occasionally placed in a small cage, connected to a lead and fed an unsuitable diet," he said.
"The people keeping the bird did not have a permit and surrendered it immediately to wildlife officers, who took it to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for veterinary assessment and treatment.
"During the investigation, wildlife officers discovered the bird had been kept for about nine months, and the people who had kept it had built a large enclosure for the bird.
"The bird, which was hand-raised from a chick, had become completely habituated and reliant on people for food.
"On occasion, it had been attacked by other birds, including magpies that were living in the wild."
It's believed the people keeping the bird were unaware they needed a permit or could face penalties for keeping it.
They did not receive any penalties.
The magpie's "unnatural" diet led to fears it had developed fatty liver disease and low bone density.
The wildlife hospital's Senior Veterinarian Dr Michael Pyne said it had received "intensive veterinary treatment" but staff were ultimately unable to save it.
"The magpie had been fed a low calcium and high fat diet, causing extensive musculoskeletal issues and chronic liver disease," he said.
"Unfortunately we treat a lot of birds and other native wildlife that have been illegally kept and fed unsuitable diets."
Originally published as Magpie put down after bad diet, life in a cage and put on lead