Tensions are still running high in Egypt, and with political turmoil comes extra caution. After all, you wouldn’t want to let a spying bird slip through your defenses.
That’s why Egyptian authorities are detaining this bird — a stork with an electronic device on its back found near the city of Qena. (Via News 12 Long Island)
The man who found the bird thought it might be spying on Egypt for Israel and that the device was some sort of surveillance equipment. (Via El Fagr)
That fits with a popular conspiracy theory about Israel using animals in its espionage operations, like when an Egyptian official accused Israeli intelligence of being behind a deadly string of shark attacks in 2010. (Via The Telegraph, BBC)
But is the stork an avian James Bond? Experts have a different explanation for the device on its back: It’s a wildlife tracker.
Egyptian authorities concluded it wasn’t spy equipment or some kind of weapon but “was actually a tracker used by French scientists to follow the movement of migrating birds.” They’re ready to release the stork once prosecutors give the go-ahead. (Via The Independent)
The Middle East’s trend of blaming Israel for spybirds has been an object of media fascination for years, with critics such as The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl saying officials who make such claims “deserve to be mocked.”
But maybe Egypt is onto something here. Back in January, Egyptian media reported a pigeon was found with a message strapped to one leg and a roll of microfilm to the other. That case, as far as we can tell, is still unsolved. (Via Al Arabiya, Youtube / joelcathey)