A six-year-old boy was hiking with his family and friends when a mountain lion seemingly came out of nowhere and jumped the boy. The creature started to drag him off by his head as horrified family members and friends watched. The boy’s father and another man fought the animal off by shouting and acting aggressively, which resulted in the predator releasing the boy from its grips, according to Yahoo News on Sept. 9.
The family and friends were hiking in a public open space preserve not far from Cupertino, a city in Silicon Valley, when the large cat showed up on the trail. Lt. Paul Foy from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said that it is unusual for a mountain lion to attack like that when there’s a group of people.
Foy believes the mountain lion used the same strategy when hunting for deer, targeting the easiest prey, which is usually the smallest member of the group. In this case the smallest member of this group was the boy. The dad said his son was walking about 10 feet in front of the group when the mountain lion just appeared and attacked, reports Fox News.
The men went right into action as this big cat had the boy’s head gripped in its jaws and was dragging him away. The mountain lion finally let go of the boy and ran off, leaving the boy with bite wounds on his head and neck. He is listed in “fair” condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, reports hospital spokesperson, Joy Alexiou.
DNA extracted from the boy’s wounds will be used to identify the mountain lion, as the hunt is on to find the huge cat. When a mountain lion is captured, its DNA will be tested to see if it is the predator who attacked the small boy, according to ABC News.
If it is not the right cat it will be returned to the wild. If they catch the same mountain lion that attacked the boy it will be killed in the interest of public safety, said Foy.
Between the years of 1986 and 2013, there have been 13 mountain lion attacks verified in California. Three of these attacks resulted in death, reports the Fish and Wildlife Department.