Child-snatching eagle hoax video goes viral

Last updated 14:15 20/12/2012
Fairfax Australia

A viral video of an eagle snatching a toddler in a Montreal park has gained over 5 million YouTube hits; not bad for an animated hoax.

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A video, which apparently shows an eagle swooping on baby and carrying it for metres before setting it down, has been outed as a hoax put together by students for a graphic animation course.

The video, made by three students from a Montreal 3D digital animation school, has received more than five million views in the three week's it's been online.

The video shows a golden eagle, which has a wing-span of up to two metres, swooping on a baby sitting in a Montreal park.

The eagle picks the baby up and carries it a few metres before setting it down again and flying away.

A French-speaking man holding the camera then swears in English and runs to the baby, which is crying but unharmed.

The video was part of an assignment and, given how quickly it went viral, the students are sure to receive top marks.

But a release on the Centre NAD website, which allays the fears of Montrealers that eagles would not typically swoop on children, has outed the video as a hoax.

"The child and the eagle were created using 3D animation by the students and then dropped into real footage," it said.

Speculation had been rife on Twitter as to the legitimacy of the video and conservationists have labelled it reckless "rubbish", which gives the bird an unfair reputation.

One Twitter-user who slowed the video down frame-by-frame pointed out that in one frame a large chunk of the bird's wing is missing, and as the bird swoops its shadow appears out of nowhere.

According to the US-based National Geographic Society, the golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America, and can dive at its quarry at speeds of more than 241 kilometres per hour.

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