CANBERRA, Australia (WLNS) – An American racing pigeon named Joe that disappeared last year survived a stunning 8,000-mile voyage to Australia. Now, officials there want to kill it.
Kevin Celli-Bird says he spotted the exhausted pigeon in his backyard in Melbourne last month. He gave it some food and water, and Joe has visited his home repeatedly.
Celli-Bird discovered a tag on Joe’s leg and learned that the bird had disappeared from a race in Oregon back in October. According to the American Pigeon Union, the bird’s owner lives in Montgomery, Alabama.
Experts say the pigeon, which is named after president-elect Joe Biden, probably hitched a ride on a cargo ship to make its way across the Pacific Ocean.
While the impressive journey has drawn attention from the media, it has also caught the eye of Australia’s quarantine authorities. Celli-Bird says they have asked him to catch and kill Joe, which they consider a disease risk.
Celli-Bird says he told authorities that he couldn’t get close enough to Joe to catch it.
Australia has strict quarantine laws, which have helped keep it relatively safe from COVID-19. Michigan has had more than ten times as many cases and deaths from the virus as Australia, despite having less than half the country’s population.