26/01/2016 14:24 GMT | Updated 26/01/2016 15:59 GMT

Israeli 'Spy Vulture' Captured By Lebanese Town On Suspicion Of Espionage

Residents of a Lebanese town captured a vulture on Tuesday, suspecting it of spying on behalf of the Israeli government. The large scavenger lives on an Israeli nature reserve, but crossed the Golan border in recent days, seemingly bent on committing an act of espionage.

People in the town of Bint Jbeil nabbed the bird after spotting it was tagged with an Israeli identification ring and a location transmitter. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority were alerted to the incident after proud locals started posting pictures on Facebook of the taken “spy.”

Pictures were circulated on social media showing the captured 'spy' after its reconnaissance flight

In a statement, the authority said: “Reports passed to us show the vulture tied with a rope by local people who write that they suspect Israeli espionage apparently because of the transmitter attached to him.”

“In the 21st century, we expect people to understand that wild animals are not harmful,” it added. “We hope that the Lebanese will release him.”

According to The Guardian, the bird was later reportedly freed. This is not the first time animals have fallen foul of Middle Eastern politics. Saudi authorities similarly detained a vulture in 2011 on suspicion of snooping.