Israel Nature and Parks Authority officials are pleading for the release of a vulture after residents of a southern Lebanese town captured the bird, claiming it was being used for spying.

Lebanese media reported that the bird – allegedly carrying Israeli spy equipment -- was caught Tuesday to prevent it from attacking citizens in the town of Bint Jbail, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The town is about 2.5 miles away from Israel’s border.

Israeli officials said the bird was released in the Gamla Nature Reserve about a month ago after arriving from Spain in 2015. The bird, outfitted with a transmitter, was brought to Israel in hopes to increase its local population, the officials added.

“In the 21st century we expect that people would understand that wild animals are not harmful and that their role is to act according to nature,” said Ohad Hatzofe, an avian ecologist for the INPA. “We hope that the Lebanese will take care of him and release him.”

Click for more from the Jerusalem Post.