Thousands of people are rallying to bring a rare native bird back to Australia, despite the government saying it is impossible to return without meeting a grim end.
Millie the Black Kite stowed away on the Seabourn Sojourn cruise ship during a storm in Broome, NSW, on March 23 before the ship departed for Bali.
Now she’s stuck there because of Australia’s strict import and quarantine laws.
Millie was found on board by the ship’s captain, Kyriakos Karras, who contacted Australian Native Birds to inform them of the missing animal’s whereabouts.
After landing in Indonesia, Millie spent 16 days in quarantine before being transported to Bali Bird Park on April 10, where she now remains in captivity.
Debra and Chris Mitchell, who raised Millie from childhood, have appealed to the government for help as locals petitioned to get her back to Broome.
Millie the Black Kite stowed away in a cruise ship during a storm and ended up in Bali after the ship departed on March 23
The native WA bird is now in an enclosure at the Bali Bird Park after the Australian government said she could not return
After Millie arrived in Bali on March 27, Mr Mitchell contacted the Consul General of Bali and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to try and get her back.
“We had a bit of bad weather that day and I think the passengers had fed it, which isn’t the best thing to do, and she sailed off on the boat,” said Mr. Mitchell. told 9news.
“Quarantine is just saying, it’s a high-risk bird of which, mind you, there are birds traveling between Asia and Australia every day in the north, but they weren’t conducive to us bringing it back and quarantining her here.” to place .’
Biosecurity laws do not allow importation of birds from Indonesia, meaning that if Millie returned, she would be euthanized by Australian quarantine upon arrival.
Millie immediately lost her Australian health status when the ship docked in Bali, as the integrity of her quarantine, the food she ate, the state of the cage and the vehicles she entered could not be guaranteed to be safe.
DFAT said that without a guaranteed health status, the best thing that can be done for Millie is to find her a new home in Bali.
“Once an animal leaves Australia it no longer has any Australian health status and as Millie cannot be returned to Australia, the Consul General in Bali is assisting with rehoming options that may allow us to visit Millie once she is found in her new home ,” the department told 6PR last month.
Debra and Chris Mitchell have paid for Millie’s care and relocation since she arrived in Bali, fighting for her return.
Captain Karras declared Millie as cargo to the Balinese government on arrival and requested that she be returned to Australia due to her aboriginal status.
The request was denied and Mr Mitchell immediately appealed the decision to the Australian Government.
That appeal was also rejected on April 4, this time by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry/Animal and Biological Imports.
The Broome community has nevertheless launched a petition to try to retrieve the native bird so that it can be released back into the wild.
Millie was found aboard the cruise ship Seabourn Sojourn and put in a makeshift cage by Captain Kyriakos Karras
Chris and Debra Mitchell raised Millie from childhood and say the constant human interaction is probably what pushed her to get on board
The petition was launched by Elizabeth Lazenby and gained 4,500 signatories before disappearing from the internet.
“Broome locals will be telling stories of Millie sitting on the cricket pitch during junior matches, circling Christmas festivities at the golf club, or even performing at the Roebuck Roadhouse for Sunday lunch,” Lazenby had written in the petition.
Millie is now destined to be locked up in a bird park in Indonesia for the rest of her life. This is not okay! Birds migrate all over the world every year, so why is there a problem with bringing back a native animal?
“Please help us get this vibrant member of our community home where she belongs.”
Millie has moved into her current enclosure at the bird park after being quarantined for more than two weeks.
Her cage is 8m x 4m x 6m high and is meant to become her permanent home.