St. Martins — People say that there’s no smoke without fire, and it certainly is the case with the newest viral video that is setting the Internet ablaze with controversy.
On Thursday evening, a new online video of a beaver smoking a cigarette was shared on the social networking platform Facebook. Within hours, the video had over 30 million views and thousands of comments ranging from the amused to the outraged.
“That poor creature!” commented millennial Camryn Miller. “Whose sick idea of entertainment is this? This is animal abuse! It’s a crime against all of God’s creations! Anti-Canadian!! SICK SICK SICK!”
“Ha ha, funny,” said teenager Zachary Ryan. “Soooooo fake though…”
The video — which The Manatee cannot reshare due to its controversial nature — opens in a snowy woodland area with a lone beaver perched on a stump. The animal is holding a single cigarette with both five-fingered paws, when a man’s hand enters the frame holding a lighter.
The beaver puts the cigarette to its mouth as the unidentified man lights it for the rodent saying, “Hello everyone from the Fundy Trail in St. Martins, New Brunswick!” The animal takes a long drag and exhales as the man laughs heartily.
After three ostensibly enjoyed drags, the beaver drops the cigarette and abruptly slaps it with his tail twice to put it out. Then, the video ends.
While the video is leaving more questions than answers in its wake, volunteers from the local chapter of PETA and staff from the Department of Natural Resources are scouring the Fundy Trail for the celebrated castor.
“First things first,” said DNR official Bethanny Adison Robertson-Avery. “We need to capture the beaver and assess the situation. We believe that we are going to need to start the animal on a smoking cessation protocol — perhaps Chantix or the patch — and see where we go from there.
“At the very least, we will try to switch it from king-sized to regulars.”