A Griffon Vulture that was tagged in Israel was found in Saudi Arabia and suspected as "Israeli spy".
A Griffon Vulture that was caught in 2008 at Ramon Crater by Orr Speigel of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, tagged and set free, was found last week in Saudi Arabia.
The Vulture, aged 6 when caught in 2008, was marked with an R26 wing tag and a metal ring marked TAU Univ. Israel.
Since it was tagged, the Vulture has been sighted several times in Israel by researchers from the Israel Nature and Park Authority. In September 2010, in one of the observations, a GPS device was mounted on its back. The device enables researchers to monitor the Vulture's behaviour using satellite tracking. The research examines the effectiveness of the feeding stations that are maintained throughout Israel by the Israel Nature and Park Authority, with the aim of improving the conservation efforts made to stabilize the status of this endangered species.
The R26 Griffon Vulture at a feeding station in the Negev Desert, Israel.
(Photo: Yossi Eshbol)
The Vulture was caught by Saudi birders, and after identifying its tag as "Israeli", they feared it had been sent deliberately by the Israeli Mossad and that the tracking device on its back is in fact a method of spying.
The Vulture is currently held captive by Saudi authorities, while Israeli nature conservation authorities, led by Avian Ecologist of the Israel Nature and Park Authority, Ohad Hatzofe, are making great efforts to convince all those involved to release it.
Information and photo courtesy of Ohad Hatzofe