In a video that went viral this week, a shirtless man in a straw hat can be seen feeding an overly curious squirrel at the Grand Canyon. After luring the squirrel with treats to the edge of the cliff, he proceeds to put on his shoe and swiftly kick the squirrel off the canyon's edge.
Unlike many foolish human-animal video interactions, this one does not appear to be a hoax. Grand Canyon park spokesperson Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said that the geographical features in the video match Grand Canyon structures.
Grand Canyon chief ranger Bill Wright said that although no one reported seeing the incident (rather, park officials were notified of the video on Saturday), he doesn't believe the video to be fake. "I think they took an opportunity to get something on video, which is really foolish," Wright said in a Fox report.
Authorities are now looking for the shirtless scofflaw. If found, he could face a federal petty offense of disturbing/harassing wildlife with maximum penalties of $5,000 along with six months in jail.
Jonathon Hildebrand, who posted the video to YouTube, said that he had no part in the punt. "I did not realize what was happening until it was too late," he told the Independent. "I do not know who they are. All I know is that they were French."
The Independent also reports that U.S., French, and UK branches of PETA have joined forces to offer a $16,870 reward to help track down the "heartless thug."
NOTE: Some viewers might find this video disturbing.