PETA increases reward for man who kicked squirrel into Grand Canyon

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The animal rights group PETA has increased its reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man filmed kicking a squirrel into the Grand Canyon.

In addition to the US$15,000 (S$18,800) bounty it offered last month, PETA on Wednesday added a free vacation to the Grand Canyon, including air fare and lodging for two, in its bid to identify the culprit seen in a video that went viral on YouTube.

It showed the man luring a squirrel with food to the edge of what appeared to be the Canyon's South Rim, and then with a flick of his foot, flinging the animal into the abyss. The Grand Canyon 1.6 kilometres deep and up to 29 kilometres wide.

In the video, the man is shirtless, wearing black shorts and a straw hat. A witness who videotaped the scene said the man was speaking in French. A second man with a camera, in the background of the video, is wearing boxer shorts.

PETA said it and its European affiliates were sweetening the reward in hopes of reaching "visitors returning from overseas who may have missed the story, or are just now hearing about someone's trip to the US".

"Someone out there may know who sadistically sent this trusting squirrel plunging to his or her death, and PETA is calling on that individual to come forward now - before anyone else gets hurt," said PETA director Martin Mersereau.

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