A vulture fitted with Tel Aviv University tags was “arrested” in Saudi Arabia. The charge? Espionage.
Fitting migratory birds with tags and GPS transmitters allows ornithologists and other researchers to track their migration. Important questions are answered: where do the birds fly? Where do they rest? How far do they travel. Dubai researchers recently tagged a flamingo as part of an ongoing program, and Israel has been tagging for years. The vulture caught flying in a rural area of Saudi Arabia raised suspicions that Israel was planning a Zionist Plot.
Despite being clearly marked with the tag “Tel Aviv University,” the vulture was “arrested,” according to Haaretz.
I’m not sure what that means or whether the spy vulture will be able to proceed with its migration, but Saudi Arabia’s paranoia is – how shall we say? Absurd.
The paper reports that Saudi residents and journalists spread hysteria that Israel had trained the vultures to commit espionage.
And if the “hundreds” of Arabic websites and forums that took up the issue are to be taken seriously, the Saudi people believed it.
Israel trained the vulture, which was suspicious because of its transmitter and leg bracelet, to spy on Saudi Arabia!
As Haaretz pointed out, earlier this year in a similar paranoid moment, the Sinai Governor tried to blame Israel for planting a shark that attacked several tourists, one fatally, that briefly stalled tourism in Sharm-al-Skeikh late last year.
More on bird research in the Middle East:
image via dobac