Six Alleged Zionist Spy Animals Detained For ‘Espionage’


Last week, the world watched in amusement as Egyptian authorities arrested a stork on charges of espionage. Unsurprisingly, this was not the first of such incidents to occur in the region.

Spy animals detained in the Middle East seem to have two things in common. First, they are detained because of suspicious electronic devices found on their bodies that could be used to gather sensitive information. Secondly, they are generally assumed to be gathering information for Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad.

So, who are these Zionist spy animals, you ask? We found countless conspiracy theories, from GPS-outfitted sharks to poison-immune rats, but here are six creatures that have actually been thrown behind bars for their alleged spy activity.

1.) Spy Stork (Egypt)


In August 2013, Egyptian authorities placed a stork under arrest in Qena governate (450 km southeast of Cairo) after a local man reported it to police for possible espionage due to a strange electronic device found around its leg.

The animal— initially described as a “swan” to police and falsely reported as a “duck” for weeks in newspapers— was detained in an Egyptian prison cell while experts examined it to determine its business in the country.

When asked, local police hypothesized that the stork may be Zionist. Some suspected the stork had been bugged by Mossad to record sensitive information relating to Egypt’s national security.

Ultimately, the stork was exonerated on all charges when experts identified the device as a GPS tracker used by environmentalists to study patterns of migration. Authorities then released the bird into a conservation area in Upper Egypt where it was found dead several days later.

The nature of the exonerated stork’s death remains unclear. Nature Conservation Egypt, the organization responsible for the stork’s release, claims the stork flew to an island in the Nile where it was caught and eaten by local villagers. However, the head of conservation in Upper Egypt disputes the likeliness of that claim, raising questions about the stork’s treatment in prison.

2.) Spy Vulture (Sudan)


In December 2012, a vulture was detained in Western Sudan under suspicion of espionage. Because it carried tags from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Nature Service, it was presumed to be an agent for Mossad. Sudanese authorities told newspapers that the vulture’s tags were transmitting images via satellite to the Israeli government.

When contacted, researchers from both Israeli institutions claimed that the tags were used only to record GPS coordinates for tracking migration.

Ecologist Ohad Hatzofe, of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, rejected the logic of the Sudanese government’s claims: “I’m not an intelligence expert, but what would be learned from putting a camera onto a vulture? You cannot control it. It’s not a drone that you can send where you want. What would be the benefit of watching a vulture eat the insides of a dead camel?”

3.) Spy Squirrels (Iran)


Okay, so Iran isn’t technically part of the Middle East. But the squirrel spy ring that Iranian authorities busted near Iran’s border in 2007 was believed to be from the Middle East, specifically Israel.

“In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran’s borders,” reported IRNA, one of Iran’s state-sponsored news agencies. “The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services.”

Iranian government officials claimed the squirrels had been fitted with devices that could be used for “eavesdropping” on behalf of Western-aligned intelligence agencies.

The fate of the squirrels remains unknown. Who knows? They might still be locked in an Iranian prison cell to this day.

4.) Spy Kestrel (Turkey)


In July 2013, a kestrel — a bird of prey similar to a falcon — was captured in the Turkish village of Altinavya after residents spotted a tag on its leg labeled “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel” and suspected that the bird might be up to no good.

Turkish authorities detained the bird and had it X-rayed at Firat University in Elazig. Medical officials, who named the bird “Israeli spy”, determined that there were no other devices on or inside the bird that might suggest espionage.

With no evidence other than the tag to justify its continued detention, Turkish authorities released the kestrel back into the wild.

5.) Spy Bee-eater (Turkey)


Things have been tense between Turkey and Israel over the past few years.

In May 2012, villagers in Southeastern Turkey contacted local police when a European bee-eater was found dead with a metal ring around its leg that read “Israel.” After intense examination of the bird, villagers found that the bird had unusually large nostrils that could potentially be used to hide a microchip.

Turkish police were convinced that the dead bird had been spying for Israel and the government opened an inquiry that at one point involved a counterterrorism unit. Eventually, experts from the ministry of agriculture determined that the bird was safe and had not been involved in espionage.

6.) Spy Vulture (Saudi Arabia)


In January 2011, Israeli government officials were “stunned” to learn that the Saudi Arabian government had detained a griffon vulture under accusations of spying for Mossad.

The griffon vulture, an endangered species with a wing span of up to 265 cm (eight feet) long, was captured by locals in the rural city of Hyaal after a strange electronic device reading “Tel Aviv University” was discovered on its leg.

“The device does nothing more than receive and store basic data about the bird’s whereabouts, and about his altitude and speed,” stated a specialist from Israel’s Park and Nature Authority, when contacted for comment.

Newspapers and blogs across Saudi Arabia caught wind of the story and created a media storm theorizing that the bird was almost certainly involved in a “Zionist plot.”

Meanwhile, Israeli environmentalists expressed their shock and concern for the bird’s safety. “Now, this poor bird is paying a terrible price. That’s very sad,” said an anonymous expert. “I hope they release the poor thing.”