A mountain lion that attacked a 7-year-old boy in Pico Canyon Park on Monday was chased off after his father heard his son’s scream and lunged at the wild animal, according to officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The attack on the child has resulted in Pico Canyon Park being closed while Fish and Wildlife Service officials conduct their investigation into what they have deemed to be an “aggressive mountain lion.”
According to Capt. Patrick Foy, of the Fish and Wildlife Service, who spoke with The Signal on Wednesday, the attack occurred around dusk on Monday and involved a young boy and his father walking through the park.
Foy said, according to the report taken following the incident, the boy was “running up a flight of stairs when the father heard his son scream.”
The father, upon finding his 7-year-old child who had temporarily disappeared from his sight, saw that his son was being bitten in the buttocks by the animal and it was still in the process of attacking.
“He lunged at the mountain lion,” said Foy, adding that the animal then became scared, backed off the son and retreated into the nearby brush. “The dad scooped (his son) up and brought him immediately to the hospital.”
While at the hospital, officers with Fish and Wildlife took swabs of the child’s non-life-threatening injuries to determine if there were microscopic traces of mountain lion saliva in them, according to Foy.
Investigators will then work to create a DNA profile of the animal, which did not appear collared or tracked, according to Foy.
“According to Fish and Wildlife authorities, the investigation is being carried out as if this were a confirmed attack, however, the investigation is still ongoing,” read a press release from L.A. County Parks and Recreation officials on Tuesday.
Less than 1% of mountain lions in the state of California have collars or GPS trackers on their bodies. And, according to Foy, there have been a total of 20 mountain lion attacks in the state of California since the government began tracking these incidents in 1910.
This is the second attack this year in the state, with an earlier attack having been reported in Trinity County in May. In that unrelated incident, a woman and her dog were attacked while the two were on a walking path near a picnic area near State Route 299.
“If you see a mountain lion in the area, you are urged immediately to contact 9-1-1,” officials said.
To learn more about safety tips when confronted by wildlife, visit bit.ly/3LNpCfY.