Australia to kill US pigeon that crossed Pacific

A pigeon that travelled across the Pacific Ocean is to be put down after running afoul of Australia’s strict quarantine rules.

The bird reportedly went missing during a race in the US state of Oregon in late October, before turning up in Melbourne almost two months later.

But officials say the pigeon, which has been named Joe, poses a “direct biosecurity risk” to Australia’s bird population and poultry industry. The bird will be caught and euthanized.

Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird says he found the pigeon in his back garden on December 26.

Some internet research led Celli-Bird to discover that the bird was last seen during the Oregon pigeon race. But after news of Joe’s appearance made headlines in Australia, Celli-Bird was contacted by officials concerned about the threat of infection.

It is not clear how the bird managed to make the 8,000-mile journey from the US west coast to Australia, but officials believe he is likely to have hitchhiked on board a cargo vessel.

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