Squirrel-kicking video under investigation by Grand Canyon officials

The men in the video could face six months in jail

Two men who appeared in a viral video in which one lured a squirrel to the edge of what appears to be the Grand Canyon and kicked it off the edge, are being pursued by US authorities.

However, park officials fear it is unlikely they will find the pair who are believed to be French.

“Right now they are working on it,” said Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski on Monday.

“They realize that [the video has] been seen by a lot of people and that there's some sensitivity to treatment of wildlife.”

The short clip which was posted on YouTube shows a topless, barefoot man in shorts and a straw cowboy hat laying a trail of food at the edge of a canyon. He then puts on one of his shoes and kicks the squirrel into the air. Meanwhile, another similarly-dressed man looks on.

Shedlowski said the geographical features of the canyon in the video appear to match part of the iconic US National Park in Arizona.

On Monday, the authorities have attempted to contact the YouTube user who uploaded the video, but they have not received a response.

Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill Wright said that no one had reported the incident at the time, but he instead heard the allegations when the video was brought to the park's attention on Saturday.

A squirrel stands pictured in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, where the animals are a common site. (Getty) A squirrel stands pictured in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, where the animals are a common site. (Getty)
Read more: Sailors save drowning squirrel
Man filmed swinging chihuahua to appear in court
The 'vampire squirrel' has the world's fluffiest tail
Ministers defeated in grey squirrel battle
Baby squirrel recovers from falling 75 feet

The park has since received messages from people appalled by the behaviour of the men, and urged authorities to hold him accountable.

“I think they took an opportunity to get something on video, which is really foolish,” said Wright, adding he doesn’t believe the video is a hoax.

If the men are found, they could face a charged of disturbing or harassing wildlife — a federal petty offense that carries a maximum six months in jail and or a $5,000 fine.

It is unlikely that rangers will attempt to put forward the incident as a case of animal cruelty, added Mr Wright, as that would require them to retrieve the squirrel and prove that it was injured or had died.

That task would prove difficult, considering the average depth of the Grand Canyon is 1 mile (1.6 km). In addition, some of its rock outcroppings, trails, and other ledges don't guarantee that something going over the edge would fall a mile below, Wright said.

Squirrels are commonly seen at the Grand Canyon, where the creatures have become accustomed to tourists, and climb on their laps, beg for food and ransack backpacks.

Park officials discourage visitors from petting or feeding wildlife because the animals can bite or attack.

Additional reporting by AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?