(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A vulture that was recently released from the Gamla wildlife preserve in northern Israel has been caught in southern Lebanon and is being held on suspicion of spying for Israel.
A local news website in Lebanon published a photograph of the vulture, bound by rope to prevent its escape, likely because of the transmitter attached to its leg.
“We expect them to understand that wild animals are not a threat,” said Ohad Hatzofeh, an avian ecologist with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), “and we hope the Lebanese release the vulture.”
Allegations of animals spying for Israel are not uncommon in the region.
In 2013, an Israeli “spy eagle” was caught in Lebanon. According to one Lebanese news site at the time, local hunters who caught the eagle alerted authorities after discovering an ID ring attached to its leg with the words “Israel’ and “Tel Aviv University” printed on it.
Hezbollah claimed that the eagle was one of many birds sent by Israel to spy and gather information via GPS transmitters across the Middle East. The report pointed to the “arrest of birds carrying similar devices” in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and most recently in Egypt.
The INPA said the bird was born in a breeding and re-acclimation center in southern Israel, and had been released into the wild some two years prior.
In August 2015, Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli spy dolphin, said to have been equipped with “spying equipment,” including cameras, Army Radio reported. It was captured off the Gaza coast by a Hamas naval unit, the radio report said.
In 2012, an eagle with an Israeli tag was captured in Sudan and accused of being a Mossad spy. In 2010, an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of attacks on tourists in the Red Sea.