Oscar Montero, 26, who lives in the village of Prioro in the Picos de Europa mountains, was surprised when he looked out of the window last Saturday to discover a bear cub, making its way onto his snow-covered front step.
“My first impulse was to touch him, but I didn’t because I thought the mother could be close,” Montero said.
At over 1,000m above sea level, Prioro, home to only around 400 residents, had been cut off from the outside world after recent heavy snowfall.
It is thought the bear had made its way down from the mountains to find food. Local newspaper iLeon reported that the recent bad weather had forced a number of animals to abandon their natural mountain habitats and head into villages in search of food.
“We’ve seen wild boar, deer but never a bear!” said Montero, who, after snapping the bear cub on his phone, posted the image on Instagram and Facebook, where it soon went viral.
Just as he was about to take a video of the cute cub it darted off, back to its natural habitat in the mountains surrounding the village.
Estimates put the number of Cantabrian brown bears currently in Spain at a meagre 130. The bear is on the Spanish list of endangered species as 'in danger of extinction'. In Spain there is maximum fine of €300,000 for killing a bear, after a ban on hunting the animal was introduced in 1973.