CUPERTINO (KCBS) — Amid the search for the mountain lion that mauled a six-year-old boy near a Cupertino Winery on Sunday, wildlife advocates say California’s drought may have been a factor in the attack.

This time of year it’s normal for wild animals to look even farther for food and water but Rebecca Dmytryk, CEO for Wild Life Emergency Services, told KCBS that the state’s drought is exacerbating the situation, forcing animals to into urban areas.

“As a society, we should prepare for more and more of these clashes; we’ve taken up so much wild land that we’re just limiting the space that these large cats can roam,” she said.

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Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say the drought maybe forcing some animals to forage for food in areas populated by humans.

“Bears, for example, are showing up in Central Valley towns where we’ve never seen them before. Maybe there’s a link there—that’s probably a little more arguable but even then, it’s probably really difficult to really prove it,” Lt. Patrick Foy said.

Foy said the drought’s impacts on mountain lions is less clear because scientists just don’t know enough about the big cats.

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What everyone agrees on, however, is that hikers need to take precautions like carrying an air horn, or other noise maker, and travel in groups.

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