Stork Recently Detained by Egypt for Alleged Spying Won’t Ruffle Cairo’s Feathers Any Longer

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

CAIRO (AP) — A stork once detained by Egyptian authorities on suspicion of being a winged spy has been found dead.

A migrating stork is held in a police station after a citizen suspected it of being a spy and brought it to the authorities in the Qena governorate, some 280 miles southeast of Cairo, Egypt. Officials say the man suspected the bird was an undercover agent because it carried an electronic device. (Credit: AP)

Mahmoud Hassib, the head of Egypt’s southern protected areas, said Saturday that local residents found the dead bird on an island in the Nile, south of the ancient city of Aswan.

In August, a local resident found the stork in Egypt’s Qena governorate, some 280 miles southeast of Cairo. Both he and police were suspicious of the European wildlife tracker found on it. Authorities later let the bird go.

(Credit: AP)

However, controversy trails the bird into death.

An Egyptian wildlife organization claimed on its Facebook page the bird was “eaten by local villagers.” Hassib denied that the bird had been eaten, though he didn’t know an exact cause of death.

This isn’t the only case of winged creatures ruffling diplomatic feathers:

Turkish officials detained a bird in July after villagers accused it of spying for Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, but then freed the winged creature after X-rays cleared it of suspicion:

An image of the X-ray as seen in the Turkish press. On the upper left, the Turkish words for “Israeli agent” are visible (Credit: Time Turk)

And after police authorities in Saudi Arabia “arrested” a vulture for allegedly spying for Israel, Israeli scientists asked the Saudi government in January 2011 to release their bird.

The vulture prompted Saudis to take action against to thwart the “Zionist plot” after authorities discovered it had been tagged with a transmitter labeled “Tel Aviv University.” But Ohad Hatzofe, an Israeli avian ecologist, told the UK’s Telegraph that the bird was only carrying a GPS tracker so scientists could track its movement, noting that the bird may not even have originated in Israel.

“This bird didn’t stay in Israel in the breeding season, so it might be a Turkish bird, it might be a Jordanian bird, or even be Saudi Arabian.”

(Credit: Telegraph UK)