Campaign To Save Caged Kookaburra From American Pet Store
Thunder the kookaburra is trapped in a pet shop in the U.S., and one Australian woman is on a mission to bring him home.
Melbourne woman Wendy Davidson, who is now living in the U.S state of Virginia, found the kookaburra after hearing a rumour from neighbours that a local pet shop was selling one.
"I wanted to go and check it out myself, and found that it was literally five minutes from my house," Davidson told The Project.
Thunder, as the kooka has been named by the pet shop, has been living in the shop for four years, and is being sold for AUD$1700.
How Thunder came to be in a pet shop is a mystery. Davidson said she doesn't know if Thunder was brought here from Australia or if it was bred in the U.S.
Davidson made a trip to the pet store to see Thunder for herself, but was reluctant to talk to the owners because her Aussie accent would be a "dead giveaway".
"I saw him, I took some photographs, took a little video," she said.
"I just took it home and just thought about it, and it was then that I couldn't get it out of my head, and decided, 'you know what, this is not cool, something has got to happen'."
To add insult to Thunder's captivity, the owners of the shop have been dressing Thunder in costumes and posting videos to social media.
"That's making a mockery of him, it's pretty distasteful and disrespectful," Davidson said.
She said she contacted the Australian Protection and Wildlife Council for advice on how to rescue Thunder.
"For me, awareness about wildlife trafficking is a big thing, and he just shouldn't be here," she said.
"He's so far from home and they live in family groups and he's living in solitary confinement."
But while laws may be strict in Australia, they are different across the U.S., as Davidson found.
"Apparently it is not illegal to own an exotic bird here (in Virginia)," she said.
The hope of releasing Thunder back into the wild, or even back to Australia, is also out of the question, said Davidson.
"I think the more appropriate course of action is to release him to a sanctuary where he has a happier life than in a cage in a smelly old pet shop."