A 12-year-old Italian boy, Alessandro Franzoi, is making international headlines after his encounter with a bear over the weekend was captured on video.
While the nail-biting footage has put viewers on edge, Alessandro was able to keep his cool and calmly walked away from the predator — just has he had been taught to react in such an instance.
What are the details?
The Telegraph reported that Alessandro began exploring while out on a picnic with his family in the mountains above the village of Sporminore in northern Italy when the bear stepped out. The boy was able to maintain his composure and walk to safety, but watching the encounter has caused anxiety the world over.
Boy in Italy stays calm as brown bear emerges from bush just metres away from him www.youtube.com
The New York Post reported that in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Alessandro explained that during his country's coronavirus lockdown, he had studied bears and felt prepared for such a situation.
The 12-year-old also received some coaching from his mother's boyfriend, who was watching as the bear emerged.
"Keep coming, Ale, don't turn your back on him," the man says to the boy. "He's just minding his own business."
When asked how it felt to come face-to-face with the bear, Alessandro told La Stampa, "It was the best day of my life. 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."
He explained, "I didn't look it in the eyes. I didn't want the bear to see me as a threat."