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)
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
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...