Australia plans to kill the pigeon that crossed the Atlantic from Oregon

A racing pigeon survived an extraordinary 8,000-mile Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird said Thursday 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 — which Celli-Bird has named Joe, after the U.S. president-elect — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat attracted the attention of the Australian media but also of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Celli-Bird said quarantine authorities called him on Thursday to ask him to catch the bird. He told them he’s not been able to get close and that quarantine authorities are considering contracting a professional bird catcher.

… The Agriculture Department, which is responsible for biosecurity, said the pigeon was “not permitted to remain in Australia” because it “could compromise Australia’s food security and our wild bird populations.”

… In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet.

… Celli-Bird said the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union had confirmed that Joe was registered to an owner in Montgomery, Alabama. Celli-Bird said he had attempted to contact the owner, but had so far been unable to get through.Hello… Facebook?

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