Saudis Declare Vulture Innocent of Espionage

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Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud has cleared a vulture of charges that it was spying on behalf of the Israeli government. Last week, Saudi officials had "detained" the vulture, fearing that its GPS tracker, which was labeled "Tel Aviv University," suggested the bird was an Israeli spy. After a long week of international mockery, an apparently embarrassed Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud stepped in to order the vulture's release and chide Saudi officials and journalists who had accused it of international espionage. ABC News' Alexander Marquardt reports Saud's statement.

"These systems are fitted to birds and animals, including marine animals. Most countries use these system, including Saudi Arabia," Saud told Saudi media on Sunday, according to Emirates 24/7. "We have taken delivery of this bird, but we will set it free again after we [have] verified its systems."

... "Some of the Saudi journalists rushed in carrying the news of this bird for the sake of getting a scoop without checking the information," he said. "They should have asked the competent authorities about the bird before publishing such news."

The Jerusalem Post says that Dan Alon, director of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, was "filled with joy to hear of the bird's release, and added that tracking the bird's movement will greatly aid in defended endangered species in the future."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.