Montreal

Pink-maned pony on Montreal's Île Sainte-Hélène was hoax staged by TV show

Images of the pony had been circulating online since Sunday, sparking a social media campaign to save the four-legged equine before it got hurt.

Jean-Drapeau Park employees kept eye out for pony, animal rescue group joined search early Wednesday

This image of the pink-maned pony circulated on social media, prompting many to hope for its safe capture. (Facebook/Sauvons le mini-cheval)

Viral images of a pink-maned pony on Montreal's Île Sainte-Hélène were part of a hoax staged by a local television show.

Images of the pony had been circulating online since Sunday, and a staged social media campaign was created to save the four-legged equine before it got hurt.

The initial Reddit post, and subsequent Facebook page, were created by the TVA program Vlog.

Employees of the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau, the paramunicipal agency that manages the island, had been keeping an eye out for the animal, said spokesperson Gabrielle Meloche.

"It all was a test," said Meloche.

She said she was glad that, in the end, no animal was ever in danger.

Montreal police said they had not received any calls about a horse, miniature or otherwise, wandering around the island.

Social media posts lead to pony search

A fake Facebook account under the name Gilles Bouchard and fake Reddit account with the username gbphotoclick posted about the pony and created a Facebook page called "Sauvons le mini-cheval," which translates roughly as "Save the pony."

Images posted to the page showed the animal wandering along a road, munching on grass and avoiding passing cars — ghostly white with a punk rock flair, the neon-coloured biosphere or city skyline glowing in the background.

The Facebook page and Reddit account had been deleted by Wednesday afternoon.

With files from La Presse Canadienne and CBC's Kate McKenna

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