A Mexican family managed to keep their cool and freeze as a black bear interrupted their birthday picnic, leaping onto a picnic table and devouring their lunch. In a video shared widely on social media, Silvia Macías is seen holding her son just inches from the bear as it helps itself to his 15th birthday meal of tacos and enchiladas.
Macías traveled from their home in Mexico City to the Chipinque Park, on the outskirts of the northern city of Monterrey, to celebrate the birthday of her son Santiago, who has Down syndrome.
Soon after they sat down for their picnic, the black bear showed up, hopped onto the table in front of them and proceeded to gulp down French fries, enchiladas, tacos and salsa. A video shot by Macías' friend Angela Chapa shows the mother sitting stoically, inches from the bear's mouth, holding Santiago and shielding his eyes with her hand.
She said she tried to keep both her son's eyes and her own cast down to avoid anything the bear could consider a challenge.
"The worst thing was that Santiago might get scared," Macías recalled Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "Santiago is very afraid of animals, a cat or a dog, any animal scares him a lot."
"That's why I covered his eyes, because I didn't want him to see it and scream or run. I was afraid that if he got scared or screamed or scared the bear, that the bear would react," she said of the incident Monday.
Macías said that she and Chapa had previously thought about the possibility of a bear encounter — they are not unknown in the park, though usually the bears come out more toward dawn or dusk, not midday — and they had come up with a plan.
"We are going to play a game where we cover Santiago's eyes and we are going to act like statues," she recalled rehearsing the plan. And that's exactly what they did: Santiago remained motionless, even though "the bear was very close to us, we heard him as he growled, as he ate, you could smell the bear. It was really very very close."
Their friend Angela eventually threw an enchilada away from the family to draw the bear out of the area, allowing Macías and her son to slowly retreat.
With a population of approximately 600,000, according to the Be Bear Aware campaign, the black bear is an endemic species in North America.
Last week, acaused parts of the amusement park to temporarily close. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the adult female was captured and safely relocated.
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