March 5, 2024

Photo: Hanna Borysenko (Shutterstock)

A pigeon that was suspected of being a Chinese secret agent has been cleared of wrongdoing and released following a period of months-long captivity. Yes, you read that right and, no, I am not fucking with you.

The bird in question was apparently picked up by law enforcement in India eight friggin’ months ago after several security guards decided that the bird looked suspicious.

The New York Times notes that the bird was “caught lurking” at an international port in Mumbai. Members of a special law enforcement team, the Central Industrial Security Force, decided that the bird might be up to no good and the unfortunate animal was drummed into what presumably passed for bird prison at the local station.

The reason that the police officers found the bird suspicious was that it was outfitted with special rings on its legs, one of which was embedded with a microchip. The pigeon also had writing on its legs that was etched in Chinese cursive. Birds have been used for espionage before (in fact, the CIA has a weird history of using pigeons to spy on people). That said, it seems somewhat safe to assume that the height of animal espionage is in the past.

The rings and the chip were ultimately sent to a forensic lab for analysis, while the bird was sent to stay at a Mumbai veterinary hospital. Eventually, police got the results of the hardware analysis back and found that the microchip in question tracked the bird’s location. After analyzing the bird’s travel patterns, the investigator tasked with investigating the bird decided that it was probably a lost racing pigeon from Taiwan.

Problematically, police never went back to the veterinary hospital to tell the organization that the bird’s case had been closed. It was only just freed this week, after staff from the hospital, along with animal rights activists with PETA India, lobbied the government to authorize its release.