A dramatic video shows a young Italian boy walking with remarkable calm down a hillside while a brown bear can be seen following behind just metres away.
The footage was filmed above the village of Sporminore in the region of Trentino-Sud Tyrol in northern Italy. Twelve-year-old Alessandro Franzoi had been hiking with his mother and her partner when the bear emerged from low bushes behind him. In the video, the mother’s partner can be heard encouraging the boy to keep calm and not pay attention to the bear, which rises on its hind legs several times.
After a little while, the animal appears to lose interest and stops following the boy, who has been praised for his courage and sangfroid during the encounter.
There are estimated to be around 80-90 bears in Trentino, particularly in the Brenta area where this family were hiking.
The heart-stopping video of Alessandro has now gone viral across Italian and international media. In an interview with Italian paper La Stampa, the boy’s uncle said, “He was walking a few yards ahead of us collecting pine shoots when we realised he was emerging from the vegetation followed by a bear. We were obviously alarmed, while he was truly calm.”
Under lockdown, Alessandro had reportedly been studying what to do if you encounter a bear, and “couldn’t wait” to see one.