A HUGE vulture accused of being an Israeli spy has been returned home after charges against the bird were dropped, The Sun reports. Villagers in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, caught the griffon vulture on Tuesday after it escaped from an Israeli game reserve and crossed the border.
The bird was part of an official scheme to reintroduce the enormous creatures back into the Middle East, so it had an Israeli tag and tracking device attached to it. Bird-brained locals saw a tracking device on the vulture, which has a 6ft 5in wing span, and detained it because they thought it was a spy.
But wildlife bosses in Israel got in a flap when they saw snaps of their tied-up vulture on social media. The United Nations then got involved to help negotiate for the feathery fugitive’s freedom.
“In a discreet operation with the Lebanese and with the great help of UN forces and the UN liaison unit, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority was able to return the vulture,” an Israeli statement released on Friday said. Lebanese media says the villagers released the captive bird after it became clear it wasn’t on a spying mission.
After its ordeal the bird was weak and was being treated for minor injuries, officials said. Amazingly, this isn’t the first time a griffon vulture has been accused of being an Israeli spy.
Saudi Arabia bagged a bird with a similar tracker back in 2011 and accused it of being part of a “Zionist plot”, which Israeli officials denied.