Viral video shows golden eagle snatching baby - but is it real?

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A GOLDEN eagle circles a park in Canada before swooping down, snatching a young boy and trying to fly off with him in a shocking video which has been posted on YouTube.

The clip appears to show the bird of prey bearing down on the toddler before lifting him several feet off the ground and dropping him back on the grass as his mother looks on in horror.

The eagle appears to snatch a child but many believe the video is fake.

The eagle appears to snatch a child but many believe the video is fake.

The original video, posted on YouTube on Tuesday, had already reached over five

million views last night before it emerged as a hoax created by four Montreal students.

The students, named as

Normand Archambault, Loic Mireault, Antoine Seigle and Felix Marquis-Poulin, claimed responsibility for the one-minute clip after causing a 48-hour internet storm, assuring viewers that at no point was a child attacked by an eagle.

They created the video for a class as part of the 3D Animation and Digital Design program at Montreal’s National Animation and Design Centre.

They said both the eagle and the “snatched” child were created in 3D animation, and integrated into the film afterwards.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association raised concerns in September 2011 over whether sea eagles could tell the difference between small children and their natural prey, calling for a public inquiry into the reintroduction of the eagles.

However, the RSPB stated: “It is the worst kind of alarmist nonsense to suggest sea eagles might soon be preying on children for food.

“This species has lived cheek-by-jowl with humans for centuries in large conurbations without incident in Norway, and this is entirely natural.”

The sea eagle was hunted to extinction in Scotland in 1917, but was reintroduced in 1975.