CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Pigeons declared by Australia as a biosecurity risk may be punished after the US Bird Organization declared the band a fake.
The band suggested that the bird found in Melbourne’s backyard on December 26 was a racing pigeon that left the U.S. state of Oregon, 3,000 kilometers (8,000 miles) away two months ago. This page
Australian officials said Thursday they considered the bird vulnerable to the disease and planned to kill it.
But Deone Roberts, sports development manager at Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said the band was fake.
She said the band number belongs to the blue banded pigeon in the United States, and that is not the bird in the Australian picture.
“The Australian band is fake and can̵7;t be traceable,” said Roberts. “It has a home in Australia, not the United States.”
“Someone had to watch that band and understand that the birds weren’t from the United States, they didn’t have to kill him,” she added.
The band-bird counterfeiting “happened more and more,” Roberts said, “unknowingly people who come into the hobby will buy it.”
Pigeon races are back in popularity and some of them are very precious. A diehard Chinese pigeon racing fan recorded a price of 1.6 million euros ($ 1.9 million) in November for the Belgian pigeon.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture did not immediately say on Friday whether the fake leg band changed plans to kill the bird.
The department said Thursday that pigeons were “not allowed to live in Australia” because it “could damage Australia’s food security and our wild bird populations”.
“It poses a direct biosecurity risk to the lives of Australia’s birds and our poultry industry,” the department’s statement said.
Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was amazed by the development and delighted that the bird he named Joe after the US president was elected may not have been destroyed.
“Yeah, I’m happy about that,” Celli-Bird said, referring to the news that Joe may not be a biosecurity threat.
Celli-Bird has contacted the American Racing Pigeon Union to find the bird’s owner by the number on the leg band. The band had numbers and symbols, but Celli-Bird could not remember the symbols and said he could no longer catch the bird as it recovered from the initial weakness.
The birds spent every day in the backyard, sometimes with native pigeons in the pergola. Celli-Bird had been feeding the pigeons since within days of their arrival. He has a spot to drink, that’s home, ”he said.
Australian quarantine officials were extremely strict, in 2015 the government threatened to exterminate two Yorkshire Terriers, the Pistol and Boo, after they were hit by Johnny Depp. Hollywood stars smuggled into the country and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Faced with the 50-hour deadline for leaving Australia, the dogs traveled by jet.