LOS ALTOS (CBS SF) — A 60- to 70-pound mountain lion that attacked a young girl in Rancho San Antonio County Park has been captured and humanely euthanized, state wildlife officials announced Thursday.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said its trackers discovered the mountain lion, estimated 60-70 lbs. and 2-4 years-old, in a tree in the park on Wednesday afternoon.
“In an abundance of caution to avoid harming a lion that was not the attacking animal, the female lion was sedated and a DNA sample was sent to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for analysis,” wildlife officials said in a release.
They said the genetic profile from the sample was found to be a match to that of samples taken from the attack victim the day of the incident in the park’s adjacent open space preserve.
“Because the animal has been confirmed to be the same one involved in the attack, it has been humanely euthanized by CDFW staff for public safety purposes,” officials said in the release.
The child sustained minor injuries and was treated on-scene before being taken to a hospital as a precaution. She was later released to parental care. The animal was scared away by adults who were present.
“The mountain lion came out of the bushes and reached for the girl, actually got her back leg with its claws and one of the friends of the family was able to push the lion away into the bushes and it took off running,” said Brad Pennington, Superintendent with Midpen.
Officials said it was the second lion attack in California this calendar year. Both were nonfatal. The last confirmed attack was in Orange County in January.
The attack had raised fears among those who often travel to the park for hikes. Molly Wu usually hikes at Rancho San Antonio County Park on Sunday evenings.
“I’m very wary about it and normally I do carry a walking stick with me, in case I encounter one, and I have a whistle,” said Wu.
She says she often sees other kinds of wildlife including deer, rabbits and turkeys.
“It makes me very sad for the family obviously, but also very sad for the wildlife because I know this park is very, very popular. And I think we’re loving it to death. There’s just so many people here on most days, you can’t even get parking,” said Wu.