A mountain lion suspected of attacking a 4-year-old boy at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego was killed by California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers in part because it appeared to have little fear of humans, an unusual and potentially dangerous trait, officials said Tuesday.
The child was with a group of about a dozen people in an area known as Carson’s Crossing when the cat attacked about 2:30 p.m. Monday. Witnesses said the boy’s father kicked the large animal and threw a rock to scare it away.
The child was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital with injuries that weren’t believed to be life-threatening. Carlos Delgado, a hospital spokesman, said the boy is recovering well and is expected to be released soon. His family requested privacy, Delgado said.
Three game wardens sent to investigate the attack quickly found what appeared to be mountain lion tracks and were later approached by an 80-pound, female cat, said Fish and Wildlife Lt. Scott Bringman. The animal had its ears pinned back — a sign of aggression — and did not appear frightened. Once they got close enough, the wardens shot the mountain lion with a shotgun.
Wildlife officers collected clothing samples from the boy and sent them to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento, along with the mountain lion’s body, for DNA analysis, Bringman said. He said wildlife forensics specialists will test the samples to confirm whether the deceased animal was responsible for the attack.
Winkley writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune. City News Service contributed to this report.