By Sara Coughlin
Don’t harm innocent animals at canyons. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Sure, we all laughed when it happened to Baxter, but something about punting–since we’re being serious now, we’ll say kicking–a squirrel into the Grand Canyon just puts us over the, er, edge.
A video uploaded to YouTube on Aug 2 depicted two men at the edge of the Grand Canyon, one of which chose to forego the breathtaking views to, instead, kick a nearby squirrel down into the ditches, killing the innocent rodent. Since then, the original video was removed from YouTube–but not before the Associated Press got a hold of the footage.
The kicker probably thought it’d be funny. He probably thought his stunt, complete with a trail of breadcrumbs meant to lure the squirrel to Canyon’s very rim, would go viral. He got that part right, anyway. Complete with its own page on KnowYourMeme (a sort of encyclopedia for viral online content), the squirrel-kicking incident swept across social platforms, each share and tweet a reflection of one more person’s desire to see the (thus far unnamed) culprit brought to justice.
Concern over squirrel abuse shows viral media with a purpose. Much like the ice bucket challenge for ALS, the more this content is shared, the more likely it seems that the man who kicked the defenseless animal should be found. Once identified, he could face a charge of disturbing or harassing wildlife, costing him either six months in prison or a $5,000 fine.
However, little has arisen that could shed some light on the man’s identity. Park officials say that, at this point, it’s unlikely they will ever be able to find him, let alone press charges.
The only easily identifiable element here is that the man made a mindless, foolish grab for attention. Perhaps we’ll have to settle with remembering him simply as the guy who decided his excursion to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, was better spent abusing a tiny woodland creature than just snapping some touristy photos or riding the rims on mule-back.