Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV has published images of an eagle, allegedly armed with spy equipment inscribed with the word "ISRAEL."
According to the report, the alleged spy-eagle was captured in the Lebanese town of Achkout by amateur hunters and had transmission equipment tied to its leg which indicated a connection to the Tel Aviv University.
The Nature and Parks Authority said that the eagle was born in a breeding and reacclimation center in southern Israel, and was released into the wild some two years ago.
According to the Al-Manar TV report, the eagle had an external transmitter attached to its body and another internal transmitter planted into its body. According to the Lebanese station, recruiting spies from the animal kingdom is a well-known Israeli practice. According to report, wiretapped fowl have in recent years been found in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt. Ynet has reported similar claims from Iran, in which 14 squirrels were arrested for spying, and Sudan.
Last September, the British Daily Mail reported that a white stork called Menes was caught in Qena, Egypt and held by authorities on suspicion of being used to spy for Israel, due to the tracking device attached to its leg.
At Ynet's request, the Nature and Parks Authority examined the number inscribed into the bird's tag. According to them, the captured raptor is a Bonelli's Eagle, one of Israel's rarest and endangered birds of prey.
According to Ohad Hatzofe, the authority's chief avian ecologist, the bird hatched in the Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve during the spring of 2011 and was released from captivity into December of the same year.
"The specimen is carrying a tiny radio transmitter, and in the picture you can see its feathers have already begun to change, and it is possible he will start mating in 2014 the spring when he reaches sexually maturity."
Tagging birds is a common practice in ornithology as it helps scientists track bird migration routes.
Last June, Turkish authorities claimed to have "cleared a renegade bird captured in the Ağın district of the eastern province of Elazığ on suspicions of working for Israel's state-of-the-art intelligence agency," the Hurriyet newspaper reported.
According to the report by the Turkish newspaper, residents of Altınavya village became suspicious that the little kestrel could be more than a bird that lost its way when they found it wore a metallic ring stamped with the words "24311 Tel Avivunia Israel," and delivered it to the district governorate.