A pigeon that survived a long trip from the United States to Australia may be held down due to strict biosecurity regulations in the country, but is also back home after mounting support for a travel pardon.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture said in a statement, “Bird destruction is the best defense for Australian chickens and wildlife.”
Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird found the pigeon in his garden on Boxing Day and discovered through the bird’s tag on his leg that it was registered for an owner in the state of Alabama in the United States, Australian media reported.
Officials said an investigation has begun to ascertain the authenticity of the American tag because it was unlikely that the bird could fly more than 13,000 kilometers (8,000 mi) to Australia and be a companion on the cargo ship.
Authorities are also looking at options to manage biosecurity risks and this may include taking the bird back to the United States if authorities there agree.
Pigeon, nicknamed “Joe”, has gained popularity on social media platforms with many hashtags #joethepigeon tweeting and demanding their safe return to the United States.
Celli-Bird told TV broadcaster Nine Network, “My wife named her Zoya. She was going to call him Donald, but we thought she couldn’t be politically correct.
Australia has strict quarantine regulations to bring live animals or birds into the country to prevent diseases from spreading on the dry continent.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told reporters, “If Joe has come this way, which does not meet our strict biosecurity measures, it is unfortunate.”
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and his then wife Amber Hurd were accused of illegally bringing their Yorkshire Terrier pistol and boo to Australia in 2015, but were let go to court with a good behavior bond.
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