California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said they ‘dispatched’ the mountain lion, suspected of attacking a group of hikers, after it showed no fear of humans.
A 4-year-old boy was treated for non-life-threatening head injuries Monday after a mountain lion attacked a group he was with, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The group of six adults and five children told authorities they were hiking in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, about 20 miles north of San Diego. They informed CDFW officers that a mountain lion attacked and scattered the group, injuring the boy. At a press conference following the incident, CDFW Lt. Scott Bringman said the boy’s father managed to drive the animal away.
“The father, who should be commended, he threw rocks and the animal left the scene,” Lt. Bringman told reporters.
CDFW officials first spotted the animal’s tracks while investigating the incident on Tuesday. Then, an 80-pound female mountain lion that “appeared to have little fear of humans” approached them.
“While they were at the scene, the mountain lion came to the location about 7 o’clock at night,” Lt. Bringman said. “The animal did not appear to be scared of the wardens, which is an indication the animal is habituated, so at that point in time, the animal was euthanized.”
The CDFW collected the carcass along with clothing and samples from the boy. A necropsy and DNA analysis at the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento will determine if the euthanized animal was indeed responsible for the attack.
If confirmed, it will mean the first mountain lion attack on a person in San Diego County in more than 20 years, Lt. Bringman said.