The pigeon went missing in Oregon, USA, on October 29 (Picture: AP)
A valuable racing pigeon managed to survive a 8,000-mile journey across the Pacific from the US to Australia only to be killed over fears it’s carrying Covid.
The bird has turned up in Melbourne, Australia after going missing during a race in Oregon, USA, on October 29 last year. It was found exhausted in a garden in the southern hemisphere on December 26 – with experts suggesting it likely hitched a ride across the ocean on a cargo ship.
Melbourne local, Kevin Celli-Bird, said he caught the pigeon, and helped it back to health on diet of dry biscuits. He said he’s called it Joe in honor of President-elect Joe Biden.
But when news of the bird hit local media, Kevin said he received a call from quarantine officers ordering him to catch the bird a second time so they can kill it.
Kevin nursed the bird back to full health (Picture: 9news)
It took the pigeon two months to make the journey (Picture: AP)
Kevin argues it is now impossible for him to catch Joe again, however, because, he’s too quick now he’s bad to full health.
Wildlife officers have now been tasked with the job of hunting down the pigeon themselves.
Kevin, 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’t catch it.
‘I can get within 500mm (20ins) of it and then it moves.’
Officials in Australia are considering killing the bird (Picture: AP)
He said local quarantine officers are now considering contracting a professional bird catcher to sort the problem for them.
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.’
‘It poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian bird life and our poultry industry,’ a department statement said.
Kevin added that the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union had confirmed that Joe was registered to an owner in Montgomery, Alabama.
He said he had attempted to contact the owner, but had so far been unable to get through.