The search for the responsible cougar that attacked an 8-year-old in a Colorado backyard has led to this.
A sudden, unprovoked attack Wednesday night on an 8-year-old has led to the capture and euthanasia of two mountain lions in Bailey, Colorado. One is presumed to be the animal responsible for the boy's serious injuries reported by CBS Denver.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the attack happened at 7:30 p.m. on August 21 as the child was playing on a trampoline. A friend began calling from down the street, and as the young boy ran towards his friend's home, the mountain lion pounced, grasping the boy's head.
"The kid was running and it probably triggered the lion's natural response to a prey animal running," said Area Wildlife Manager Mark Lamb. "We all hope that the child will be alright and you just hate to see this occur."
The boy's brother ran inside the house and alerted their father, who rushed out to help. The cougar ran off upon the father's arrival.
The boy was taken to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
As is CPW policy, any wildlife attack on a human resulting in injury must lead to that animal being put down.
A trap was set by CPW officials near the scene of the attack, and a dog team searched the area for hours into the night.
The following day, wildlife officers got a call from a rancher near the attack claiming a missing goat and the sighting of two mountain lions. USDA Wildlife Services personnel located and dispatched the cougars, one of which was positively identified as the likely attacker of the 8-year-old boy.
"People need to take mitigating measures to protect their livestock, their pets and talk with their children on what they need to do if they happen to see a mountain lion," said Lamb. "We heard from many residents yesterday of the mountain lions that had been in the area, and the activity of them feeding heavily on deer, as mountain lions do. If you have deer hanging around your property, never feed them and we encourage you to haze them or other wildlife off of your property by yelling, blowing an air horn or whatever you need to do to make them go away. We don't want people to panic, they are very aware of all the wildlife that lives around them, but the proper precautions need to be taken. There are obligations that people must be committed to for living responsibly with wildlife."
The two euthanized sub-adult males were young lions, about a year old, and may not be the only frequenting the area near where the attack happened. They will be DNA-tested to determine for certain if one was the boy's attacker, but the livestock disappearance was enough to justify both being killed.
The CPW reported that "The stomach contents of these two mountain lions were full of goat tissue, and their intestinal and colon contents suggested they had been eating well prior to depredating on the goats." Additional cat activity reported to the CPW led wildlife officials to remind the community to take steps to mitigate wildlife encounters.
There have been 22 mountain lion attacks on humans in Colorado since 1990. Three of those resulted in a fatality.
There have been three recorded attacks this year, with the previous attack before 2019 occurring in 2016. The last time a single year saw three attacks was in 1998.
The first of this year occurred February 4, in which a trail runner at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space west of Fort Collins was attacked. The second was earlier this month on August 10 northeast of Kremmling.
The Colorado mountain lion hunting season runs from November 18, 2019 to March 31, 2020 and is only allowed in certain game management units in the state. There is also an April season that encompasses the entire month in specific areas and units.