A racing pigeon survived an extraordinary 8,000-mile (13,000-kilometre) journey in the Pacific Ocean, crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia.
But now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
The bird, which has been named Joe, reportedly went missing during a race in the US state of Oregon in late October, before turning up in Melbourne almost two months later.
Melbourne resident Kevin Celli says he found an exhausted bird on Dec. 26 in his back garden. Celli-Bird said quarantine authorities called him on Thursday to ask him to catch the bird.
“They say if it is from America, then they’re concerned about bird diseases,” he said, adding that quarantine authorities were now considering contracting a professional bird catcher after his refusal to grab bird.
The Agriculture Department said the pigeon was “not permitted to remain in Australia” because it “could compromise Australia’s food security and our wild bird populations.”
It may be noted that Joe the pigeon is not the first animal to face trouble from Australia’s strict animal import laws.