Although the Egyptian papers kept referring to it as a swan; in fact, what the government was holding in detention, under suspicion that it was a spy, was a stork. The bird had been heroically captured by a fisherman who noticed that the bird was wearing an electronic device. Further investigation revealed that the stork had been tagged by French scientists, who were studying the bird’s migration patterns.
Previously, in 2011, a vulture was captured in Western Sudan. Officials believed that it was working for the Israeli Security Services, as a Mossad Agent. The vulture was wearing a GPS tracker and wore tags that were labeled Tel Aviv University and the Israel Nature Service. In 2007, Iran arrested 14 “spy squirrels”. A year later they arrested 2 pigeons who were near a uranium enrichment facility.
Over a century ago, a German photographer attached a camera to a pigeon in order to take aerial photographs. German military intelligence continued to do so. And of course carrier pigeons have been utilized to carry messages. Continuing and expanding the tradition, China announced that it had successfully implanted electrodes in birds’ brains, and could fly them like remote controlled airplanes.
For the past 40+ years, American intelligence has worked with a variety of animals, including both cats and dolphins. The CIA had a program developing furry spies, codenamed “Acoustic Kitty”. Cats were implanted with microphones and transmitters in the hopes that they would eavesdrop on humans. There was some success in recording conversations in the parks of Moscow. Unfortunately, the cats were subsequently run over by cars.
Dolphins play an active role in the Navy. They are trained to detect, locate and mark mines. They also take notice and respond accordingly to suspicious swimmers and divers. Light strobes or noisemakers are attached to the dolphin’s nose. The dolphin swims to the intruder, bumps him from behind, which knocks the signal device off of the nose. The dolphin then swims away while the device leads military personnel to take over.
After further investigations, most animals are found to be innocent of espionage and released. Such was the case with the stork that had been mistaken both for a swan and a secret agent for France. However, it has been reported that the bird was shortly found dead on an island in the Nile. Reports differ as to whether or not he was eaten by the locals. In any event, conservationists cried foul.