A fish farm worker on Vancouver Island made a “once-in-a-lifetime” catch on Monday afternoon — but with his camera, not with his rod.
At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, December 9th, John Ilett, a manager at Mahatta West Farm, recorded an eagle struggling to escape the grasp of an octopus.
The eagle looked in serious danger until Ilett and a few other workers intervened in the fight, using a pole to weaken the sea creature’s grip and allow the eagle to swim away.
The video has since gone viral, with multiple local outlets sharing it and thousands of people viewing the animals’ struggle since it was first posted.
Chris Read, Communications Manager at Mowi Canada West Fish Farms which oversees Mahatta West Farm, says that workers heard splashing and squawking behind their float house and went to investigate.
It was there they had their “once-in-a-lifetime experience,” according to a Facebook post from Mowi.
Read presumes the eagle had taken an ambitious swipe at the octopus, which fought back in self-defense and refused to let the bird go from its grasp. From there, the octopus attempted to swim to the bottom of the ocean — with the eagle in tow.
“At first they held back, not wanting to intrude on a natural process,” Read explains in a phone interview with Victoria Buzz.
But once the workers realized they were only going to watch an eagle needlessly drown to death, they stepped in.
According to Mowi’s Facebook post, the octopus swam away unharmed and the eagle retreated to a nearby branch before flying away. A worker involved in the incident posted the video to Facebook, where it took off in popularity.
“Everyone’s seen eagles, and a few lucky people have seen octopuses,” Read says, “But no one has seen them interact like this.”
Even with thousands of people viewing the video, Read still hasn’t heard of a similar story.
“One hundred percent of reactions have just been, ‘Holy cow!’”