The latest “Israeli animal spy”, a stork that was detained by Egyptian police last week on suspicion of spying, has been killed and eaten, The Guardian reports.
Police detained the stork after a man saw a tag on it and caught it, suspecting it was a spying device.
The bird was spotted by a fisherman in the Nile River, in the Qena region, as it swam with other birds. The fisherman noticed that the bird had a device attached to its feathers, which he feared could be used to gather information.
Experts then examined the device to see if it could have been used to gather intelligence, but it turned out that the stork had been tagged by zoologists to track its migration, according to The Guardian.
Nature Conservation Egypt told the newspaper that the White Stork, which they named Menes, was released into a conservation area in southern Egypt but flew to an island in the Nile where it was caught and eaten.
The group said on a Facebook post, "Storks have been part of the Nubian diet for thousands of years, so the actual act of eating storks is not in itself a unique practice. However, the short-lived success story of getting Menes released was not enough to keep him safe till he exited Egypt.
"Egypt has long suffered from issues of uncontrolled hunting. However, it is important to always balance the needs of local communities with the needs of nature and biodiversity conversation. We truly are saddened by the tragic end to Menes' journey, but once again, we would like to thank the park rangers of Aswan for their excellent initial efforts to get Menes the White Stork released safely into a protected area."
The capture of the stork was seen as an example of popular xenophobia and paranoia which has been used as a political tool by the former president, Hosni Mubarak, the deposed president Mohammed Morsi and now the current army-backed regime.
In the past, an Egyptian official complained that the Mossad released attack sharks into Egyptian waters.
Egypt, however, is not the only country to have caught animals claiming they are Israeli spies. Turkish authorities announced in May 2012 that they had found a bird used by Israel for espionage purposes. In December, officials in Darfur also announced that they had found an Israeli “spy eagle.”
Israeli officials confirmed that the eagle bore a tracking device, but explained that it was for the simple purpose of tracking the bird itself, as part of a study to ensure the safety of the rare species.