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Golden eagle toddler attack: YouTube clip captures the moment a large bird of prey swoops down and snatches a child - but Canadian students confess it's a hoax

Video proved popular on Twitter, but was produced in animation workshop with the eagle and child added in post-production
  • @johnmatthewhall

A video clip on YouTube appears to capture the moment a golden eagle swoops down and grabs a child in its talons.

The clip, which was filmed in Montreal, Canada, begins by showing the huge bird circling a park.

The bird then dives towards a family, grabbing a toddler while his mother looks on in horror. The eagle struggles to lift the child and drops him a few feet off the ground.

As the eagle grabs the child, the French-speaking man filming the clip swears in English and runs over to help the family. The video then zooms in on the child who begins crying but does not appear to be seriously hurt.

After proving popular on Twitter yesterday, with one user tweeting "Destined to be huge", a Canadian university was forced to admit that the video had been made by students in one of its classes.

A statement from Montreal's Centre NAD animation school said: "The 'Golden Eagle Snatches Kid' video, uploaded to YouTube on the evening of December 18, was made by Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin, students at Centre NAD, in the production simulation workshop class of the Bachelors degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.

"The video shows a royal eagle snatching a young kid while he plays under the watch of his dad. The eagle then drops the kid a few feet away.

"Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards."

There was early social media speculation that the clip may be a fake, with experts analysing the clip frame-by-frame for clues that it may be computer-generated.

Writing in the New Statesman, blogger Alex Hearn had earlier said: “When the bird swoops down, its shadow pops in one frame after it does. And for one frame, and one frame only, around three seconds in, its right wing becomes transparent.

“Then there is the slightly odd motion of the child after the eagle lets go of it. Not only does it carry on going up - which would just be momentum - but its ascent actually speeds up a bit before falling.”