It's a script that sounds like it's straight out of a Disney movie. An 8-year-old Austrian boy named Matteo Walch has struck up an improbable friendship with a group of alpine marmots in the Austrian Alps.
According to the Daily Mail, Walch and his family have been visiting the Alps for two weeks every year for the past four years. And each time the family returns, the marmots gather around Walch.
"I could spend hours watching animals - it gives me a connection with nature and its life forms," Matteo said.
Alpine marmots, which can be found in certain mountainous regions of Europe, are not known to be particularly friendly with humans. But they have taken fondly to Walch.
"He loves those animals and they are not at all afraid of Matteo because he has a feeling towards them and they understand that," said Matteo's mom, Michaela. "It’s amazing to watch the connection between a boy and his animal friends."
Michaela has photographed her son with the marmots, and she said she is greatful for the opportunity to capture the animals in a natural state.
"The picture of a curious animal approaching me is a thousand times more beautiful than the picture of any animal looking at me in fear before it takes flight," she said. "This is how I try to picture the proudest, more beautiful and also the funniest moments, giving others the opportunity to enjoy the miraculous world of animals."
For more photos, see here.
(H/T to Barstool Sports)
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