History often tells stories of unusual friendship, however Austrian boy Matteo Walch has perhaps one of the more unusual friendships. You see, this little guy likes to hang out with alpine marmots.
Alpine Marmots are notoriously shy around humans, beating their tails and chattering their teeth to try to warn us off before emitting loud whistles to tell other members of their colony to flee. Not so with Matteo.
His friendship with these cute little critters began in 2008, when, as a four year old, his family first visited Austria’s highest mountain, Grosglokkner located in the National Park “Hohe Tauern”.
Marmots are inherently prone to fearfulness and avoidance of contact with people, but at a meeting with Matteo they made an exception – a group of animals received him with an open heart, not showing him anything but confidence and tender friendship.
Like a snake charmer, the schoolboy from Innsbruck has a unique ability to inspire confidence and to interact with normally shy wild animals – He even greets them face to face, or allows them to climb onto his lap. He plays with ease, stroking and feeding with hands gathered around his furry friends.
The boy’s mother, a math teacher and amateur photographer from Innsbruck, says that at the first meeting four alpine rodents apparently without fear, approached Matteo, jumping on him and enjoying him like an old friend. Matteo, not afraid of such a reaction laughed loudly.
For more than half his life the schoolboy has spent every summer vacationing in the Austrian Alps for two weeks, enjoying the spectacular scenery and local fellowship with good friends, who took him to Alpine Marmot pals.
According to his mum, Michaela, he loves these animals and knows exactly how to behave with each of them. The Alpine marmots in turn know that this little man comes to them with the only good intentions.
As an amateur photographer, Matteo’s mum started to document the unique relationship between Matteo and the marmots. She can spend hours watching their interactions, enjoying the natural behavior of the marmots and her little man in harmony with the environment.
According to the philosophy of her work, she only takes pictures of animals that behave freely and openly. In this instance, Her work shows that Matteo and his buddies are very comfortable in each other’s company.