Salmon Farmers Save Bald Eagle From Octopus

A bald eagle and an octopus met at the water's surface — and it didn't go well.

A Bizarre Animal Battle

A group of salmon farmers from Marine Harvest Canada were returning to their float house off the northwest tip of Canada's Vancouver Island last week when they heard screeching and splashes from the water.

The team discovered a full-sized eagle almost submerged as a giant octopus was attempting to drag it down into the depths of the water.

The eagle had bitten off a little more than it could chew by taking on the octopus. The crew watched the struggle between the two for nearly five minutes.

"We weren't sure if we should interfere because it is mother nature, survival of the fittest," salmon farmer John Ilett told CNN. "But it was heart wrenching — to see this octopus was trying to drown this eagle."

Rescuing the Eagle

Ilet and his team decided they should help. As they got closer to the battle, Illet reached out with a pole that had a small hook.

All it took was a little tug and the octopus released its grip on the bald eagle. The octopus swam away unharmed and the bald eagle rested on a nearby branch for 10 minutes before flying away.

This was a rare encounter to witness, so Illet and Marine Harvest Canada shared the video on social media for others to see.

The response has been mixed, with people from all sorts of professions and walks of life chiming in on social media as to whether the crew should have intervened.

"Am I at fault because I'm human and I felt compassion for the bird?" Ilett told CNN. "At the end of the day both animals are alive and well and they went their separate ways and we feel pretty good about what we did."

While no longer listed as an endangered species, bald eagles are protected under several laws in the United States. Anyone who harms the U.S. national bird could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.