American pigeon Joe to be killed in Australia after long journey

Pigeon, photo: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Pigeon, photo: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Australian authorities plan to kill the American pigeon Joe, named after US President-elect Joe Biden, after he traveled 9,000 miles (14,480 kilometers) from the States to Australia.

They see Joe as a risk for their local birds since Joe didn’t quarantine before entering the country.

Kevin Chelli-Bird discovered the emaciated pigeon tagged with an ankle band outside his home on Boxing Day, local media reported. The ankle band showed the pigeon’s owner lives in Alabama in the US.

Joe went missing during a pigeon race in October, Chelli-Bird told the Herald Sun newspaper: “The only thing we can think of is, in this race he was blown off course and out to sea, landed on a boat and hitched a ride.”

The pigeon’s epic journey made headlines in local media, but as the news reached authorities, the bird became a fugitive for skipping Australia’s strict entry procedures.

“As he was not legally prepared for import or imported, the health status of this bird and any others he has been in contact with at its origin and prior to arrival in Australia is unknown,” a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said in a statement.

“He poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian birdlife,” the spokeswoman said about Joe. The department said that Joe needs to be killed.

Australian officials previously threatened to kill dogs belonging to movie star Johnny Depp and then-wife Amber Heard, because they did not declare the pets on immigration papers.

The Hollywood pair managed to save their Yorkshire terriers with a quick flight out of the country.

But sadly, Joe’s owner hasn’t come forward to save him.

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