CORRECTED: Egypt's security puts 'spy stork' under arrest

Ahram Online, AP, Saturday 31 Aug 2013

Security forces declare a 'quack-down' on suspicious stork in Qena governorate in Upper Egypt

spy duck
A migrating stork is held in a police station after a citizen suspected it of being a spy and brought it to the authorities in the Qena governorate, some 450 kilometers (280 miles) southeast of Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt’s police put a stork under arrest late Friday as a device was found attached to its feathers, fueling accusations that it might have been used for espionage, Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website reported.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic site, a fisherman in the Nile River of Egypt’s southern governorate Qena caught the accused stork, which was among a group of five birds waddling in the freshwater.

The fisherman became suspicious that the device on the stork's body could be used for spying, prompting him to hand it over to the Coalition of Arab Tribes in Qena, who in turn filed a police report.

An anonymous security official told Ahram Online on Saturday that security and environmental experts are currently examining the device in order to determine its intended purposes and whether or not the little bird has repeated national secrets to anyone.

The device turned out to be a wildlife tracker used by French scientists to follow the movement of migrating birds, Ayman Abdallah, the head of Qena veterinary services said to the Associated Press. Abdallah said the device stopped working when the bird crossed the French border.

In January, a carrier pigeon was captured in the Egyptian governorate Qalyubia (North of Cairo) and was sent to the Criminal Investigation Department after a message was found attached to one of its feet and a microfilm to the other.

In 2010, sensationalist reports surfaced in the local media on "GPS-controlled sharks" allegedly sent by Israel to Sinai shores.

This story was corrected on 1 September to reflect that the captured bird was a stork and not a duck.

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