A YouTube video of an eagle snatching up a toddler captivated millions of viewers, some of whom may not have immediately realized it was fake.
Uploaded on Tuesday, the clip shows a golden eagle swooping out of the sky to grab an infant in its talons, then dropping the child seconds later. Despite broad and immediate skepticism of its authenticity, it had more than 5 million views by Wednesday evening.
The Canadian digital-media school where the video was created issued a statement Wednesday afternoon clarifying the clip as a hoax and naming the students involved.
However the school, Centre NAD, was unapologetic about its prank, even pointing viewers to another hoax video, created by students, of an unlikely penguin escape. (The penguin video had a paltry 37,000 views.)
Comments on YouTube and the school's website were mixed.
Sandra Bauer wrote, "... it would be a good idea to post some links to raptor rescue centres. This video will undoubtedly spawn irrational fear of eagles and others."
Another YouTube commenter, DJ Mykee, had a more lighthearted view: "KIDNAPPING CHILDREN IS ILL-EAGLE."
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