Daily US Times: A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now Australian authorities consider the pigeon a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
On Thursday, Kevin Celli-Bird said he discovered the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on December 26 had disappeared from a race in Oregon on October 29.
Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe, after the US president-elect, hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific.
The bird’s feat has attracted the attention of the local media but also of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.
Celli-Bird said the quarantine authorities called him on Thursday to ask him to catch the pigeon.
He said: “They say if it is from America, then they’re concerned about bird diseases.”
“They wanted to know if I could help them out. I said,’ To be honest, I can not catch it. I can get within 500 mil of it and then it moves.'”
The quarantine authorities were now considering contracting a professional bird catcher, he said.
The country’s Agriculture Department said the pigeon was “not permitted to remain in Australia” because it “could compromise Australia’s food security and our wild bird populations.” The department is responsible for biosecurity,
A department statement said: “It poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian bird life and our poultry industry.”
In 2015, the Australian government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Boo and Pistol, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
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