A racing pigeon that managed to cross the Pacific Ocean and make its way to Australia from the United States may now end up being killed due to the local authorities' concerns about the feathered ocean-goer being a potential quarantine risk.
The pigeon, which somehow managed to endure a 13,000-kilometer voyage across the Pacific, was discovered by one Kevin Celli-Bird who said he found the bird in his Melbourne backyard on 26 December, and named it Joe after the current US president-elect.
According to AP, the pigeon "disappeared from a race" in Oregon on 29 October, with experts suspecting that the bird "hitched a ride on a cargo ship".
Now, however, the pigeon has apparently attracted the attention of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, with Celli-Bird explaining that he has already been contacted and asked to catch the bird.
"They say if it is from America, then they're concerned about bird diseases," he said. "They wanted to know if I could help them out. I said, 'To be honest, I can't catch it. I can get within 500 ml (millimeters or 20 inches) of it and then it moves'."
He also added that quarantine authorities are now considering employing a professional bird catcher in order to apprehend the elusive pigeon.
Meanwhile, Australia's Agriculture Department, which handles biosecurity issues in the country, has announced that the pigeon is "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", the department said in a statement.