Skip to main content

Mexican mother bravely shields son as bear leaps on picnic table, devours tacos, enchiladas

Mexico City -

A Mexican mother bravely shielded her son after a bear leapt on a picnic table and devoured the tacos and enchiladas meant for the boy's birthday dinner, inches from his face.

Silvia Macias of Mexico City had traveled to the Chipinque Park in the northern city of Monterrey to celebrate the 15th birthday of her son, Santiago, who has Down syndrome.

Soon after they sat down to eat the food they had brought, the bear showed up and gulped down french fries, enchiladas, tacos and salsa. A video shot by her friend, Angela Chapa, shows Macias sitting stoically, inches from the bear's mouth, holding Santiago and shielding his eyes with her hand. She kept her eyes downcast, to avoid anything the bear might consider a challenge.

"The worst thing was that Santiago might get scared," Macias 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.

Macias 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 is 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."

Asked if he had been scared, Santiago, who attends middle school in Mexico City, said "yes, a lot."

Their resourceful friend Angela, who filmed the scene, lives in Monterrey and knew the proper behavior for a black bear encounter: never run.

She noticed a plate of enchiladas the bear had not eaten -- the bear appeared to prefer french fries, and as a true Mexican, had eaten the salsa -- and she tossed the enchilada far away, after showing it to the animal. As expected, the animal followed the food and Angela stood in front of the bear, shielding Macias and her son and allowing them to retreat quietly and slowly.

Eventually, the bear went away.

Santiago got his birthday tacos replaced, and all ended well.

Macias says she doesn't consider herself a hero.

"I just think I'm a mother who protected her cub," she said. Top Stories

Ontario doctors disciplined over Israel-Gaza protests

A number of doctors are facing scrutiny for publicizing their opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. Critics say expressing their political views could impact patient care, while others say that it is being used as an excuse for censorship.

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.

Live updates

Live updates Hamas frees 10 Israeli women and children, 4 Thai nationals

Ten Israeli women and children and four Thai nationals held captive in Gaza were freed by Hamas, and Israel followed with the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners Thursday. It was the latest exchange of hostages for prisoners under a temporary cease-fire in the Gaza war. Two Russian-Israeli women were also freed by Hamas in a separate release.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected