Stork once suspected of being spy found dead in Egypt

A stork that was once detained by Egypt on suspicion of being a spy has been found dead, with a wildlife organization claiming that it was “eaten by local villagers.”

Mahmoud Hassib, the head of Egypt's southern protected areas, said Saturday that local residents found the dead bird on an island in the Nile, south of the ancient city of Aswan.

Authorities in Egypt’s Qena governate – which is 280 miles southeast of Cairo -- detained the stork in August after finding a European wildlife tracker on it. The bird, which was called “Menes” by the Nature Conservation Egypt group, was later let go.

On its Facebook page, the group says the stork was eaten, but Hassib denied the claims and said he did not know of the cause of the bird’s death.

“After being safely released into the Salugah & Ghazal protected area several days ago, Menes flew off to a nearby Nile Island, where he was captured and killed, to be eaten by local villagers,” the Nature Conservation Egypt group said in a post. “Storks have been part of the Nubian diet for thousands of years, so the actual act of eating storks is not in itself a unique practice.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.