A fake video of an eagle abducting a baby has been followed by a rash of eagle shootings in Wisconsin, according to one of the state's top wildlife rehabilitators.
When an eagle is shot in Wisconsin, it is usually taken to Marge Gibson's Raptor Education Group Center near Antigo. Gibson says since the fake video went viral on YouTube a little over a month ago, four eagles and a rough-legged hawk have been shot and delivered to her doorstep ... more than she usually gets in a month. “That's a lot more. They actually come from all over the state. Two were from the Hayward area, one from the Green Bay area, one from Almond Wisconsin, and another from further south.”
The digitally-created video shows a golden eagle swooping down in a park and carrying away a baby. The students who created it at a Montreal animation school at first pretended it was real. Gibson says they fooled a lot of people. “This came out reportedly as a news event, and I can't tell you how many copies of it I received personally. And I would respond, you know, this wasn't real, a golden eagle would never do that.”
Marge Gibson often displays a golden eagle when she does programs for Wisconsin school kids, or conducts tours at the Raptor Center. She says since the video was released, she has gotten a disturbing reaction. “When we take out our golden eagles, they're like, 'oh, did you see that video? You know, they grab children. Eagle took a child right in front of its parent.'”
Eagle shootings have also been reported outside of Wisconsin since the video was released. Four bald eagles were shot and killed at one location in Washington state on January 9th. Statistics for the entire country were not immediately available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.