A vulture from an Israeli nature reserve has been captured in southern Lebanon by locals who claimed it was spying.
The bird was spotted in the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, several miles from a nature reserve in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
People who captured the bird, numbered P98, said they noticed a transmitter device, wing tags and a metal rings with Israeli markings attached to its body.
— Green lemon (@green_lemonnn) January 26, 2016
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority were alerted to the vulture’s plight following reports on social media.
“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,” said a spokeswoman for the authority, Tali Tenenbaum, according to The Guardian.
“In the 21st century, we expect people to understand that wild animals are not harmful. We hope that the Lebanese will release him.”
It was later reported by Arabic news site Bintjbeil.org that the bird was freed after locals determined it was not a threat.
Relations between Israel and Lebanon remain fraught, with the neighbouring countries having engaged in a number of conflicts, most recently in 2006.