A White Stork was arrested in Egypt recently after a fisherman in Qena captured it – believing it to be a spy – and marched it down to local police. Equipped with tracking technology, the bird was released, but didn’t live much longer.
Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE) helped to negotiate the White Stork’s release by assuring Egyptian authorities that the suspicious device on the bird’s back belonged to a French research team that was tracking its migratory patterns.
The stork, named Menes, was subsequently released into a protected conservation area in southern Egypt, according to The Guardian.
“The fact that we managed to get it released in the first place is miraculous,” writes NCE’s Noor Noor on the group’s Facebook page. But its freedom did not last long.
Soon after NCE convinced authorities to let the bird continue its journey with the defunct equipment, the stork was captured, killed and eaten on an island in the Nile.
“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, according to NCE. “However, the short-lived success story of getting Menes released was not enough to keep him safe till he exited Egypt.”
Uncontrolled hunting is common in parts of Egypt, as NCE notes, and a spirit of paranoia that has gripped the country makes any animal sporting strange-looking devices fair game for poachers. But such bizarre behavior is not limited to this country.
In 2011, a vulture (or maybe a bald eagle – nobody was really sure) that strayed into rural Saudi Arabia was originally branded a spy before it was cleared of espionage charges and finally released.
Meanwhile, although Menes was not able to escape Egypt, two more White Storks equipped with tracking technology may be luckier.
Zagyva and Karolina are currently approaching Luxor, according to a group post. “They will sleep there and then made there [sic[ way to the south,” writes Haitham Ibrahim.
“If you are nearby,” he said, “keep an eye on the sky. Hopefully they can cross safely to Lake Nasser.”
:: The Guardian
Image of White Stork, Shutterstock