Mother shields terrified son as black bear gatecrashes birthday picnic in Mexico

A mother bravely shielded her terrified son after a bear leapt on a picnic table and tucked into his birthday lunch, inches from his face.

Silvia Macias from Mexico City had travelled to Chipinque Park in northern Mexico on Monday to celebrate the 15th birthday of her son, Santiago, who has Down syndrome.

Soon after they sat down around midday, a bear appeared and leapt onto the table, tucking into the boy’s birthday meal of tacos, enchiladas, salsa and chips.

A video shot by Ms Macias’ friend Angela Chapa shows the mother sitting frozen, inches from the bear, holding her son and shielding his eyes with her hand.

At one point the bear appears interested in Santiago, moves its face towards him before turning back to the food.

“The worst thing was that Santiago might get scared,” Ms Macias later told 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.”

Ms Macias kept her eyes downcast, to avoid anything the bear might consider a challenge.

Bears are known to live in the park, though they typically emerge more towards dawn or dusk.

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.”

Asked if he had been scared, Santiago said “yes, a lot.”

Resourceful Ms Chapa, who filmed the scene, knew they must not run if they encounterd a black bear in the park. She noticed a plate of enchiladas the bear had not eaten and she tossed the food far away, after showing it to the animal.

The animal followed the enchiladas and Angela stood in front of the bear, shielding Ms Macias and her son and allowing them to retreat quietly and slowly.

Eventually, the bear went away.

Ms Macias says she doesn’t consider herself a hero. “I just think I’m a mother who protected her cub,” she said.