Pigeon That Travelled 8,000 Miles From US To Australia Will Be Killed
Authorities are considering destroying a pigeon that managed to survive the 8,000-mile (13,000km) trip from the US to Australia.
Kevin Celli-Bird, from Melbourne, discovered the exhausted bird in his backyard on 26 December two months after it disappeared from a race in the U.S. state of Oregon on 29 October.
According to experts, the pigeon, which Kevin has named Joe, after the US President-elect, probably hitched a ride on a cargo ship.
He said: "It rocked up at our place on Boxing Day. I've got a fountain in the backyard and it was having a drink and a wash.
"He was pretty emaciated so I crushed up a dry biscuit and left it out there for him.
"Next day, he rocked back up at our water feature, so I wandered out to have a look at him because he was fairly weak and he didn't seem that afraid of me and I saw he had a blue band on his leg.
"Obviously he belongs to someone, so I managed to catch him."
However, despite the Australian quarantine authorities asking him to catch it for them, Kevin said the bird has since regained its strength and he hasn't been able to get close to it.
He said: "They say if it is from America, then they're concerned about bird diseases.
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"They wanted to know if I could help them out. I said, 'To be honest, I can't catch it. I can get within 500 mil [millimeters or 20 inches] of it and then it moves'."
As a result, he says, the authorities are now looking into employing a bird catcher.
In a statement, the Agriculture Department said: "It poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian bird life and our poultry industry."
The body confirmed the bird will not be 'permitted to remain in Australia' because it 'could compromise Australia's food security and our wild bird populations'.
Australian National Pigeon Association secretary Brad Turner said he agreed there is the potential danger that birds such as Joe could carry an exotic disease and he should be killed.
He said: "While it sounds harsh to the normal person - they'd hear that and go: 'this is cruel,' and everything else - I'd think you'd find that AQIS [Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service] and those sort of people would give their wholehearted support for the idea."
Kevin said he had attempted to contact the owner, who he believes lives in Alabama, but hadn't been able to.
Last year, the government in Denmark revealed it was culling around 17 million mink after a mutation of Covid-19 found in the animals had spread to humans and posed a risk to potential vaccines.
The new coronavirus strain is called Cluster 5, and was found to have infected a number of people in northern Denmark.
Featured Image Credit: Channel 9
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