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Taking flight | Updated: 2014-01-10 11:30

Pigeon racing’s popularity is soaring among China’s wealthy, producing sky-high bids for champion pedigree — and unintended consequences ranging from import-tax disputes to pirates who trap and ransom the birds.

The 153 racing birds released in Beijing’s Baige Park for the Iron Pigeon Triatholon, hosted by Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp’s loft, are trophies of the superrich. They’re status symbols — like Ferraris with feathers.

Measures to prevent cheating and “bird-nap” were taken by the organizer, such as lead seals on cages, stamps on pigeons’ tails and breakable bands on their ankles.

These pigeons took flight from Beijing to Nanjing for a nearly 1000-km race on Dec 12, 2012, and nearly 50 of them finally made it within the time limit on the second day.

Videographer/Editor/Reporter: Xing Yi

Taking flight

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