Israeli vulture detained in Lebanon on suspicion of being a spy

Story highlights

  • Vulture with Israeli tags held by locals in Lebanon on suspicion of carrying "hostile" equipment
  • A dolphin, other vultures -- and even sharks have previously been implicated as Israeli spies

(CNN)Imagine Jason Bourne -- but with feathers, claws and two-meter wingspan.

A vulture that flew into Lebanon from an Israeli nature reserve has been captured on suspicion of spying, according to local media reports.
    Gamla Nature Reserve tracked the bird to near the southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbeil, which is just a few kilometers over the border from Israel -- then reports began trickling in that the bird was being held by locals who suspected it because it had Israeli tags and devices.
    A series of pictures also surfaced: one of a vulture with Israeli tags and a rope tied around its leg; another of a transmitter on the same bird's back; and another of two men displaying the bird's massive wingspan.
    Pictures of the vulture show what appears to be a transmitter on its back.
    The huge griffin vulture -- which is part of a conservation project to restore the raptors in the Middle East -- has a metal ring on its leg indicating it is from Tel Aviv University, tags on its wings, and a GPS transmitter attached to its tail.
    "[Locals in Lebanon] caught the bird for sure," says Ohad Hatzofe, bird ecologist at the reserve in the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied from Syria in 1