Last month Egyptian authorities detained a suspicious stork wearing a European wildlife tracker, believing it to be a spy. The stork, which it turns out wasn’t dropping off a secret spy baby, was later set free. However, the bird didn’t go on to live a long and happy life—it was found dead three days ago on an island in the Nile.
Even in death, the suspect stork is still embroiled in controversy. The Egyptian wildlife organization wrote on its Facebook page that the bird was “eaten by local villagers,” although Mahmoud Hassib, the head of Egypt’s southern protected areas, said the bird was definitely not eaten, though he failed to offer an alternative cause of death. Do they do animal autopsies in Egypt?
This is just the latest in the bizarre trend of Middle East animal spy claims. Most often, though, the animals are accused of working for the Mossad. Earlier this summer, Lee Smith reported on a bird of prey that Turkish authorities thought was an Israeli spy:
Last week, Turkish authorities released a kestrel after a thorough investigation showed it was not spying for Israel. It’s a good thing the Turks were 100 percent sure because, to hear Israel’s neighbors tell it, the Mossad often employs birds to do its dirty work. One vulture believed to be spying for Israel was detained in Saudi Arabia in 2011, another was apprehended in Sudan in December 2012, and the Turks believed they were also targeted previously, in May 2012, by a European bee-eater.
No wildlife is safe.