A terrifying video of a wildlife photographer and his friend coming face to face with a mountain lion while hiking in Trabuco Canyon, Southern California, has gone viral.

Mark Girardeau, who monitors wildlife in the area, was hiking the trail along with his friend Rachel Devlugt, Friday when they noticed something brown running up the hill toward them. When the duo stopped and looked around, they found the predatory feline staring at them from a distance of 5-10 feet. Girardeau filmed the video of their rare encounter that lasted around 2 minutes before the mountain lion backed away.

“This mountain lion didn’t blink. It was so weird and we were so close. You could just see its eyes staring at us," Girardeau told CBS Local. When the pair realized that they were experiencing a stare down from the wild cat, Girardeau raised his voice and shouted "Get back" in an attempt to scare the wild cat away. The duo then stood their ground for some time before they slowly backed away.

In the video, Girardeau could be heard asking his friend not to move fast and keep checking on the mountain lion if it was following them. “My initial response as a lion is, like, running up to me is, like, oh my God, I gotta go,” Devlugt said. Girardeau said that the technique is to announce yourself and assert your dominance making sure you don't run.

"This mountain lion is a female known as Uno. I think there are 2 things that could have caused this: either she has a kill nearby and she was defending it or she ran up at his not realizing we were humans since she couldn’t completely see us from down below," Girardeau said on his Instagram page.

Girardeau said he decided to share the video on Orange County Register and his Instagram page to help future hikers understand the techniques to handle such scary encounters. "I started filming since I figured it'd be a great tool to have for how to deal with these encounters," Girardeau said.

representational image pixabay