California game wardens and a federal animal tracker are searching for a mountain lion that attacked a six-year-old boy while he was hiking with his family on Sunday.
The boy and his family were hiking with other parents and their children on a Cupertino trail when a mountain lion lunged at him from out of nowhere. It bit into the boy’s neck and dragged him off into the brush, according to NBC Bay Area. The boy’s parents fought off the mountain lion but the boy suffered lacerations to his head, neck and back. He was released from the hospital on Monday.
State wildlife agents and a tracker employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are now trying to find and kill the mountain lion. The team stayed overnight in the woods near the attack site on Sunday, but were unable to find the animal. The search continued on Monday and Tuesday. At the time of writing this article, the team had not yet found the mountain lion.
The attack is concerning because it exhibits highly unusual and dangerous mountain lion behavior.
“It’s a matter of public safety,” said California Fish and Game Lt. Pay Foy. “Even after the attack, the tracker did find evidence to suggest that the lion actually followed the family back down to their car when they were trying to get the child to safety. That’s indicative of extreme, dangerous behavior.”
Here’s more about the story from NBC Bay Area.
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When they find the mountain lion, game wardens want to test a sample of its brain for rabies, as it clawed and bit the boy in a seemingly random attack. The boy was hiking with a a group parents and their children. Apparently, he was walking only 10 feet in front of the group when the mountain lion lunged at him from out of nowhere. The mountain likely attacked the boy instead of the adults because he was closer in size to a small deer, a main course item for cougars.
Mountain lion attacks on humans in California are children are rare. There have been three fatal attacks on humans since 1986 and 11 nonfatal attacks – none in the Bay Area where the attack occurred.
Featured Image via NBC Bay Area