A racing pigeon detained by Australian authorities and it was destroyed due to concerns received by an American intruder when experts found on Friday that its leg tag was possibly fake.
Originally thought of flying from Alabama to a backyard in Melbourne – an epic journey of 14,500 kilometers (9,000 miles) – the “Joe” racing pigeon made headlines around the world.
Australian media had reported that Melbourne man Kevin Chellie-Bird had discovered the pigeon – which he named after President-elect Joe Biden – with an ankle band, which was associated with the American racing bird.
As the news spread, quarantine officials called Joe a “biosafety risk” and suggested that they should be destroyed humanely to prevent possible illness.
But as he was hanged for a winged flyer on Friday, pigeon enthusiasts doubted Joe’s identity.
The American-style racing band around Jo-Kay’s feet appeared online and often as a knock-off used by local owners.
And it propounded that which was not an American racing breed, as its tag suggests, but a local Turkish tumbler.
Lars Scott of Pigeon Rescue Melbourne told AFP, “They are not ready to fly long distances, they breed for tricks in the air. So they are really like a show bird.”
Scott claims that the tag was a fake that was supported by the American Racing Pidgeon Union, which posted on Facebook to try to save Joe.
The union said the American owner of the bird attached to the tag said it did not have what it owned.
Quarantine officials said they were still working to uncover Joe’s origins.
An Agriculture Department spokesman said, “The bird was marked as having an American identity – the department is still working to determine its authenticity.”
Earlier, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia gave a stern message for Joe.
“If Joe has come up with a way that hasn’t met our strict biosecurity measures – then bad luck Joe, either flies home or suffers the consequences,” Michael McCormack told the media.
McCormack’s predecessor had previously threatened euthanasia to illegally bring Johnny Depp and Amber Hurd’s pet dogs into the country.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)