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If Pakistani pigeons spy, do locusts too?

India should investigate, as CIA had also admitted using pigeon snoops in USSR.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 28, 2020, 08.22 AM IST
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It may have been easier for it to sneak in behind the swarms of locusts now invading India from hatching grounds in Baluchistan.
The arch-villain Goldfinger had memorably told superspy James Bond, ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.’ Given that the pigeon apprehended in a border village in Jammu and Kashmir this week on suspicion of being a Pakistani spy is the third bird of the same species to be nabbed — others being in 2015 and 2018 — Indian officials cannot be faulted for their prompt action. But if the plan was for this unmanned avian vehicle (UAV) to slip in unnoticed, why its handler(s) decided to daub it with a splotch of pink is unclear; perhaps the intention was for it to mingle with flamingos in Mumbai but went off-course. It may have been easier for it to sneak in behind the swarms of locusts now invading India from hatching grounds in Baluchistan.

Of course, using pigeons is devilishly clever: if caught, they cannot sing like canaries. And though a Pakistani villager with no obvious connection to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has claimed ownership and said the coded message on its foot tag was just his phone number, India should not lower its guard just yet. After all, only last year, the CIA declassified files of its Cold War spy-pigeon missions that included them photographing sensitive sites in the former USSR. As CIA also trained ravens and dolphins, Pakistani locusts should merit closer examination too.

Covid Strikes Animal Kingdom: Dogs, Cats & Tigers Face Coronavirus Fury

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Wild Wild World

9 Apr, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) for the longest time believed that coronavirus cannot infect pets like dogs or cats.In less than a month, several reports of various animals contracting the diseases made the WHO pause and think about their stance. The reports suggest that this deadly virus can break the species barrier and move around.WHO's intergovernmental animal health body - World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) - confirmed that there is a possibility that some animals can get infected through close contact with infected humans.OIE said that studies are under way to understand the issue better and that it is still too early to say whether pets could be the intermediate host in the transmission of the COVID-19.While they are urging anyone who has become sick to limit contact with pets, we look at all the animals who contracted the disease from humans.(Representative Image)
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