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LOOK: Viral Photo Shows Big Eagle Grabbing A Boy's Head, But Why?

Jul 15, 2016 04:17 AM EDT
Wedge tailed eagle
Wedge tailed eagle about to flap its wings at Desert Park, Alice Springs
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Cazz)

A few days ago, an eagle tried to carry a boy up in the air by clawing his head. The shocking incident was captured by a certain person named Christine O'Connell who uploaded the image on her social media account. Since then, the photo has been shared multiple times on various social media platforms.

The photo shows the eagle attempting to drag the boy in a green hoodie.

The caption reads: "At a nature park in Alice Springs we decided to go to a bird show (and) the young boy in the green kept pulling his zipper up and down. For some reason, the wedge-tailed eagle did not like it and instead of flying over to the log he is meant to for a photo opportunity, he flew straight at the young boy and attacked him."

While most netizens were disturbed and shocked by the image, others were curious as to why the eagle behaved that way. Did the boy do something to taunt the eagle? Or was the eagle simply curious?

According to a report in The Telegraph, the incident occurred during a bird show at the Alice Springs Desert Park in Australia's Northern Territory. The wedge-tailed eagle was part of the show. During their rehearsals, the bird was trained to land on a perch, but on that particular day, it decided to ignore the stunt and do its own gimmick.

Since the incident, the park has decided to remove the wedge-tailed eagle, who is known as Australia's largest bird of prey. A thorough investigation of the incident will be done.

In an attempt to explain the eagle's behavior, John Parks, a professor of animal science at Cornell University, had an interview with National Geographic. He enumerated two possible reasons for the incident.

First, he said that such behavior is in the eagle's nature.

"Instinctively they are carnivorous animals that are looking for something to eat, or defending themselves from something that may be a threat," he says. "That's just the nature of the beast."

However, he also emphasized that it was still unusual, since captive animals are supposed to be fed well and therefore, less inclined to hunt for their own food.

The second speculation is that they boy did something to distract the eagle.

As mentioned in O'Connell's caption, the boy was doing repetitive movements as he pulled his zipper up and down during the show. Parks said it might have grabbed the eagle's attention.

"It decided to strike at the child, maybe in a defensive kind of motion or movement, and then kept going when there was no real threat," he said.

Australia Zoo describes the wedge-tailed eagle as a large raptor that hunts by high soaring flight. They are usually found in forests and in open country plains and mountains throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania.

The Tasmanian subspecies is listed as endangered by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, while the mainland species is classified as secure.

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