2020欧洲杯网站For most of us, a sudden encounter with a large wild bear might elicit a high-pitched yelp of surprise followed by a panic-stricken run in the opposite direction, arms flailing.
But a 12-year-old Italian boy has been praised for his sangfroid after coming face to face with a brown bear in the Dolomites and then calmly walking away so as to not provoke the animal.
2020欧洲杯网站The encounter – more reminiscent of Alaska or the Rockies than Europe – happened in the mountains above the village of Sporminore in Italy’s northern region of Trentino-Sud Tyrol.
Alessandro Franzoi was strolling through an area of low bushes looking for semi-precious stones when the brown bear appeared.
His mother and her boyfriend calmly told him to step slowly away from the animal, to not panic and to not turn his back on the bear as it moved towards him.
“Keep coming Ale', don’t turn your back on him,” his mother’s partner told him. “He’s just minding his own business.” The boy followed their instructions to the letter, with the whole episode caught on a mobile phone.
At one point Alessandro whispered “Mamma” as, without him knowing it, the big bear reared up on its hind legs behind him.
2020欧洲杯网站“We had gone for a picnic in the mountains,” said the boy’s uncle, Federico. “Alessandro wandered off a few metres and then we saw him coming out of the bushes followed by a bear. We were obviously alarmed but he was really calm.”
A keen wildlife enthusiast, Alessandro had been reading about bears during lockdown and had learned how best to respond to one if encountered in the wild.
“The woods and wildlife are his passion. He reads a lot of books, he studies and dreams of having adventures,” said his uncle.
2020欧洲杯网站Rather than being terrified by the experience, Alessandro was thrilled.
2020欧洲杯网站“It was the best day of my life,” he told La Stampa newspaper. “I really hoped something like that would happen. When I saw the bear pop up from the bushes I was really excited. “I knew I must not surprise the bear and that I just had to move away from it. I didn’t look it in the eyes – I didn’t want the bear to see me as a threat.”
2020欧洲杯网站Brown bears were pushed to the brink of extinction in Italy by hunting and trapping but the species was reintroduced in the late 1990s when 10 bears from neighbouring Slovenia were released in the Dolomites.
2020欧洲杯网站The EU-funded Life Ursus scheme has been hailed a success and there are now at least 50 brown bears in northern Italy, most of them in the Brenta Dolomites range.
There is a separate, isolated population of around 50 Marsican bears – a subspecies of the Eurasian brown bear – in the Apennines of central Italy.
Although attacks on humans are very rare in Europe, Ursus arctos arctos2020欧洲杯网站 is a formidable animal, with males weighing up to 700lb.