Wildlife Officials have found and killed a mountain lion that attacked a California boy on Sunday near Cupertino.
On Wednesday, California Fish and Wildlife officials said they killed the 65-pound juvenile cougar after it displayed aggressive behavior towards one of the wildlife officers, according to Mercury News.
California game wardens and a tracker employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture had been hunting the lion since Sunday. On late Wednesday morning, the team located the lion 130 yards from the attack site and used dogs to chase it up into a tree. While in the tree, the lion remained in a crouched position and fixated its attention on one of the officers, said Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Patrick Foy.
Foy added that the lion’s territorial behavior and close proximity to the site where the boy was attacked were indicators that the lion was the one involved in the attack and not a non-local animal.
Fish and Wildlife released a statement that said they had no other option but to kill the mountain lion.
“No one at the department wanted to destroy this animal but protecting public safety is a first and foremost priority,” officials said the news release. “Relocation of mountain lions is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In this instance, the lion was not eligible because it had attacked a human.”
The mountain lion attacked the boy while he was hiking with his family and group of others on a trail near Cupertino. The lion pounced on the boy and dragged him off into the brush. Two men in the group fought off the mountain lion, but the boy sustained claw and bite marks to his head, back and shoulders. He was released from the hospital on Monday.
Mountain lion attacks on humans in California are rare. Foy said the department does not know for certain why the mountain lion acted so aggressively.
“Everything about (the attack) was so vastly beyond our scope, beyond any statistical reason why lions do what they do, that there is no way to explain why he attacked,” Foy said.
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