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Big Mango ‘theft’ just a publicity stunt

/ 05:44 AM February 26, 2014

This undated picture released by the the Bowen Tourism Center shows a man standing next to a 10-metre and seven-ton mango monument in the statue’s hometown of Bowen, in Queensland. AFP FILE PHOTO

SYDNEY—The “theft” of a three-story, 10-ton mango statue in northern Australia was revealed on Tuesday to be an elaborate publicity stunt by a fast-food chain.

The disappearance on Monday of the Big Mango, a towering fiberglass likeness of the fruit, which is abundant in its hometown of Bowen, made international headlines and a Facebook page was set up to help find it.

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But a chicken restaurant chain admitted on Tuesday it was responsible for “borrowing” the tourist attraction.

“The disappearance of Bowen’s Big Mango has generated quite a lot of attention over the last day or so, and we confess Nando’s was behind moving the three-story-high, 10-ton tourist attraction,” the fast-food chain said on its website.

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“Nando’s would like to thank the people of Bowen for being good sports about us ‘borrowing’ their beautiful mango,” it added.

The chain said the reason for the stunt would be revealed soon and that the mango would be put back in place.

The famous fruit, which was unveiled in 2002 as a kitsch tourist attraction, appeared to have been harvested in an ambitious raid by thieves armed with heavy machinery and cranes.

But suspicions were raised when police said they were not investigating.

A caller to ABC radio on Tuesday said the mango was lying in the bush behind the information center where it usually sat.

“They’ve laid it over on its side on a couple of tractor tires by the look of it and covered all that end that’s facing Bowen with big, long tree branches and shade cloths so nobody can see it,” the caller said.

“It’s a pretty hard thing to hide,” he added.

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There are giant fruits all over Australia, including the Big Banana, Big Pineapple, Big Strawberry and multiple Big Apples and Oranges.

There are also giant fishes, a lobster, a penguin, a kangaroo, koalas, and even a giant cask of wine.

Bowen is known as the mango production capital of Australia.

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TAGS: Australia, Big Mango, publicity stunt, theft
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