Published October 17, 2013
JERUSALEM – Israeli eagles dangerously endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.
Hezbollah's Al-Manar website boasted of capturing an eagle with Israeli labeling that carried a transmission device on its back. It claimed the bird was an Israeli spy.
But Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem said Thursday he was tracking the bird for research and was "incredibly frustrated" it was harmed. Leshem has specialized in the Bonelli's Eagle for decades and says they are in great peril. He says just nine pairs of mating age remain in Israel.
He said Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Turkey all targeted migrating birds from Israel before and made similar unfounded espionage accusations. Egyptian authorities recently arrested a stork accused of spying for Israel.