An Australian woman living in the US has been left heartbroken after discovering a Kookaburra sitting in a tiny cage for sale at her local pet shop.
Wendy Davidson, an expat living in Virginia, posted an image of the Australian native creature named Thunder to Facebook asking for help to free him.
Thunder was listed in the store for $US1199 ($AU1692).
“It breaks my hear to see him caged,” she wrote in the post. “Can you do anything to save our precious native Australian bird?”
Ms Davidson said that she was shocked to find Thunder in the pet store that is just five minutes from where she lives and said that she decided to contact Australian authorities.
“He has only known solitude and that is what made me feel really quite sad for him,” she said to Channel Nine.
“I thought this is really not where he needs to be so that’s when I started contacting local and Australian authorities.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) March 28, 2019
The Kookaburra was not technically kept illegally as it had been bred locally about four years ago. However, Ms Davidson said she was concerned about the conditions that Thunder was being kept in.
“I am just literally a concerned Australian who saw a bird which shouldn’t be so far from home.”
The pet shop in Virginia, Birds of Pet Paradise, confirmed in a post to Facebook that the Australian bird had been bred in captivity in the US.
“Thunder’s lineage comes from a line of kookaburra that were legally brought into the states and legally bred through our licensed breeder. He was hatched in captivity legally,” the management wrote.
Just a quick update on the story we brought you last night of Thunder – the kookaburra living in a US pet shop. #TheProjectTV
— The Project (@theprojecttv) March 28, 2019
As a result, Ms Davidson was told that there was nothing that could be done to free the bird.
Australian laws prohibit the export of live native birds for commercial purposes and it is illegal to keep a kookaburra as a pet.
However, in Virginia, people can own exotic birds such as kookaburras.