Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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A goat is seen in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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Goats are seen outside a church in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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Goats are seen outside a church in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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A woman takes a picture of a goat in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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A herd of goats is seen in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
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A goat is seen outside a church in Llandudno as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Llandudno, Wales, Britain, March 31, 2020. (Reuters/Carl Recine)
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Updated 31 March 2020

Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town
  • With humans sheltering indoors to escape the new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno
  • Now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town

LONDON: Un-baaaaa-lievable: This wild bunch is completely ignoring rules on social distancing.
With humans sheltering indoors to escape the new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno, a town in North Wales.
Andrew Stuart, a video producer for the Manchester Evening News, has been posting videos of the furry adventurers on his Twitter feed and they are racking up hundreds of thousands of views.
He said the goats normally keep largely to themselves, in a country park that butts up against Llandudno. But now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town. The UK has been in lockdown for the past week to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“There’s no one around at the moment, because of the lockdown, so they take their chances and go as far as they can. And they are going further and further into the town,” Stuart told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday from his parents’ pub in Llandudno, where he is waiting out the pandemic.
His videos show the goats munching on people’s neatly trimmed hedges and trees in front yards and loitering casually on empty streets as if they own the place.
“One of the videos on my Twitter shows that they were on a narrow side street and I was on the other side and they were scared of me. They were edging away from me. So they are still scared of people,” Stuart said. “But when there’s hardly anyone around on the big streets, they are taking their chances, they are absolutely going for it. And I think because it’s so quiet, and there’s hardly anyone around to scare them or anything, that they just don’t really care and are eating whatever they can.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.


‘Fake’ US leg band may get pigeon a reprieve in Australia

‘Fake’ US leg band may get pigeon a reprieve in Australia
Updated 15 January 2021

‘Fake’ US leg band may get pigeon a reprieve in Australia

‘Fake’ US leg band may get pigeon a reprieve in Australia
  • Australian authorities earlier considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it

CANBERRA, Australia: A pigeon that Australia declared a biosecurity risk may get a reprieve after a US bird organization declared its identifying leg band was fake.
The band suggested the bird found in a Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 was a racing pigeon that had left the US state of Oregon, 13,000 kilometers away, two months earlier.
On that basis, Australian authorities on Thursday said they considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it.
But Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said on Friday the band was fake.
The band number belongs to a blue bar pigeon in the United States and that is not the bird pictured in Australia, she said.
“The bird band in Australia is counterfeit and not traceable,” Roberts said. “It definitely has a home in Australia and not the US.”
“Somebody needs to look at that band and then understand that the bird is not from the US They do not need to kill him,” she added.
Counterfeiting bird bands is “happening more and more,” Roberts said. “People coming into the hobby unknowingly buy that.”
Pigeon racing has seen a resurgence in popularity, and some birds have become quite valuable. A Chinese pigeon racing fan put down a record price of $1.9 million in November for a Belgian-bred pigeon.
Acting Australian Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he did not know what the fate of the bird named Joe, after the US president-elect, would be. But there would be no mercy if the pigeon were from the United States.
“If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict biosecurity measures, then bad luck Joe, either fly home or face the consequences,” McCormack told reporters.
But Martin Foley, health minister for Victoria state where Joe lives, called for the federal government to spare the bird.
“I would urge the Commonwealth’s quarantine officials to show a little bit of compassion,” Foley said.
Andy Meddick, a Victorian lawmaker for the minor Animal Justice Party, called for a “pigeon pardon for Joe.”
“Should the federal government allow Joe to live, I am happy to seek assurances that he is not a flight risk,” Meddick said.
Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was surprised by the development and pleased that the bird he had named Joe might not be destroyed.
“Yeah, I’m happy about that,” Celli-Bird said, referring to news that Joe probably is not a biosecurity threat.
Celli-Bird had contacted the American Racing Pigeon Union to find the bird’s owner based on the number on the leg band. The bands have both a number and a symbol, but Celli-Bird didn’t remember the symbol and said he can no longer catch the bird since it has recovered from its initial weakness.
The bird with the genuine leg band had disappeared from a 560-kilometer race in Oregon on Oct. 29, Crooked River Challenge owner Lucas Cramer said.
That bird did not have a racing record that would make it valuable enough to steal its identity, he said.
“That bird didn’t finish the race series, it didn’t make any money and so its worthless, really,” Cramer said.
He said it was possible a pigeon could cross the Pacific on a ship from Oregon to Australia.
“It does happen. We get birds in the United States that come from Japan,” Cramer said. “In reality, it could potentially happen, but this isn’t the same pigeon. It’s not even a racing pigeon.”
The bird spends every day in the backyard, sometimes with a native dove on a pergola. Celli-Bird has been feeding it pigeon food from within days of its arrival. “I think that he just decided that since I’ve given him some food and he’s got a spot to drink, that’s home,” he said.
Lars Scott, a carer at Pigeon Rescue Melbourne, a bird welfare group, said pigeons with American leg bans were not uncommon around the city. A number of Melbourne breeders bought them online and used them for their own record-keeping, Scott said.
Australian quarantine authorities are notoriously strict. In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet.