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Design college admits ‘Golden eagle snatches kid’ viral video a hoax

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“Golden eagle snatches kid,” a video that went viral in less than 24 hours after being posted on YouTube on Dec. 18, is just so strange that it has to be true. Unless, as a design college in Montreal admitted on Wednesday, the video is a very clever hoax.

The “Golden eagle snatches kid” video shows a large bird flying in a Montreal park as it spots its quarry. The bird suddenly swoops down and appears to pick up a young toddler. It flies several feet in the air, struggles, then drops the child just a few seconds later. The child appears to be unharmed, while his father seems horrified.

Posted Tuesday by MrNuclearCat, the video has received over 5.1 million views in two days, and counting. But with all those views came skepticism. Many viewers noted the bird’s movements, video’s shadows and other editing anomalies in declaring the incident a hoax and a fake.

As it turns out, the doubters are right. A design school in Montreal called Centre NAD, also known as National Animation and Design Centre, revealed Wednesday that both the eagle and baby were "were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards."

Three students made the video for a fifth-semester production simulation workshop class: Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin.

The course “aims to produce creative projects according to industry production and quality standards while developing team work skills,” Centre NAD said in its statement.

The design college also noted, somewhat proudly, that other video hoaxes produced in this class have gained widespread attention. They pointed in particular to the video showing a penguin escaping from a Montreal zoo. CBC News reports videos that get 10,000 views receive “A’ grades.

Not everyone is amused by the “Golden eagle snatches kid” video, especially since Centre NAD’s statement that the viral video is a hoax is not included on the YouTube video. Some comments on the YouTube page suggest that many viewers remain unaware the video is fake.

Given reported incidences of eagles hunting large animals, the video might play more into people’s fears about birds of prey and children’s safety than it is about showcasing animation. The video’s subject, without disclaimer, is also troubling for those interested in protecting both eagles and their reputation, such as the National Eagle Center.

What’s your reaction to the “Golden eagle snatches kid” video? Is it a creative project, funny hoax, misguided idea or something else?

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