A California woman has been called “a hero” by state officials after she fought off a mountain lion with her bare hands after it attacked her 5-year-old son.
The boy was playing by a tree near his home in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, on Thursday morning when a 65-pound mountain lion attacked him, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Department spokesman Patrick Foy told the Associated Press the mountain lion “dragged him about 45 yards” before his mother, came to the rescue.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy said. “The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life.”
Foy told CBSLA the boy’s mother noticed the attack when she heard her son screaming. He added the boy suffered traumatic injuries to his head and torso and was taken to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles.
After law enforcement was notified of the attack, wildlife officials went to the family’s home when an officer noticed an “aggressive” mountain lion in the corner of the property. Officials said because of the mountain lion’s behavior and location, they, “believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it” on the property, which evidence proved to be true.
“Wildlife Forensics Scientists analyzed samples from underneath the claws of the suspect lion carcass and isolated traces of human tissue and blood with a DNA profile that matched the young victim,” the department said in the statement. “Results were conclusive that it was the attacking lion that was shot by the wildlife officer on scene.”
Shortly after the suspected mountain lion was killed, two more mountain lions, including one full-grown adult with a radio collar and one similar to the deceased lion, appeared.
Citing safety concerns, officials used a non-lethal tranquilizer on the uncollared, similar mountain lion. After confirming the tranquilized mountain lion was not involved in the attack, it was released back into the wild.
The size of the deceased mountain lion indicated it was a kitten born less than one-year-ago, according to officials. Experts told CBSLA the attack might have happened because the boy was small and the mountain lion is still trying to learn how to hunt for food.
Contributing: Associated Press
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