Italian couple confronted by endangered bear on balcony

A couple living near a national park in central Italy said a suspected burglar they heard on their balcony turned out to be an endangered brown bear.

Annalisa Castagna said in a Facebook post that she and her husband, Claudio Paravano, thought a burglar was on their balcony in Pescosolido, a village bordering Abruzzo National Park, so they went outside to investigate.

Castagna said the investigation turned out to be “a close encounter with the bear. We were face to face, less than a meter away.”

The woman said she was so close to the bear that she could “count all the teeth he had in his mouth plus the red tongue.”

Castagna fled back inside the house, but Paravano ended up jumping off the balcony to evade the bear. He is now recovering from a fractured pelvis, Castagna said.

Pescosolido Mayor Donato Bellisario said the park is home to about 60 endangered Marsican bears. He said authorities visited the couple’s balcony to try to determine what drew the bear to their home, but they were unable to identify any likely causes.

A Marsican bear was spotted just a few days earlier in the nearby village of San Donato Val Di Comino. The bear was photographed bathing itself in a fountain in a public garden. It was unclear whether the same bear was responsible for both sightings.

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