Israeli Vulture Detained on Charges of Espionage

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), portrait, Israel
If you see something, say something. Photo: PhotoStock-Israel/Corbis

An Israeli vulture drifted into Lebanese airspace Tuesday, where it was intercepted and detained on charges of espionage. Residents of the town of Bint Jbeil became alarmed by the bird after discovering that it was equipped with a homing device from Tel Aviv University. Fearing that the rare griffin vulture might also be carrying a hidden camera, the locals tied the bird to a tree with rope to allow for closer examination, Haaretz reports. However, “after examining the bird to make sure it was not carrying listening or spy equipment,” the residents returned the bird “to nature,” according to reports in Lebanese media.

This isn’t the first time that the deep distrust between Israel and its neighbors has inconvenienced a wild animal. Last year, Hamas apprehended a “Zionist spy dolphin” off the coast of Gaza. Saudi Arabia detained a (presumably) different Israeli vulture on spying charges in 2011. The bird has yet to return to its home at a wildlife reserve in the Golan Heights, where, if it knows what’s best for itself, it’ll confine its research to pop culture.