December 19th, 2012 08:23 PM
MONTREAL—A video of a golden eagle swooping down and snatching a toddler off the ground in Montreal before letting go has sparked an online buzz amid mounting doubts over the authenticity of the footage.
Coming just a week after a monkey wearing a sheepskin coat was found wandering around a parking lot in Toronto, the video purports to show the massive eagle – with a roughly six-foot (two-meter) wing span – circling a public park.
The eagle then swoops down, lifts an unsuspecting toddler off the ground by its winter coat and carries it a few feet before dropping it on the grass.
After cursing in English, the French-speaking man filming the incident races over to comfort the bewildered child, who starts crying but does not appear to have been seriously hurt.
Netizens have rushed to see the video, which had more than a million views by noon on Wednesday (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE0Q904gtMI) and was also making the rounds on Twitter.
But several journalists who watch the Internet closely claim the video is likely fake.
Others have posted stills of the footage that they say show the eagle’s shadow suddenly appearing on the video when it was not previously visible.
“If the eagle video is fake, it’s a really well-made fake,” said @DocWan, echoing what many other people were saying on Twitter.
Others, though, just enjoyed the show. “Destined to be huge!” one online user wrote. “Craziest video I’ve seen in a long time,” tweeted another.
The golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America, and can dive at its quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour, according to the US National Geographic Society.