State officials on Friday confirmed that a mountain lion killed by wildlife officers earlier this week in San Diego was the same one that had attacked a 4-year-old boy.
Wildlife officers and forensic scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the genetic profile of the mountain lion collected from the boy matched DNA taken from the mountain lion killed shortly after the attack.
A boy was attacked Monday in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego County, and officials did not know whether a mountain lion or a bobcat was the culprit. The child was among a group of 11 people in the park when he was attacked about 2:30 p.m. Witnesses said the boy’s father kicked the large animal and threw a rock to scare it away.
The child was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t believed to be life-threatening.
After the boy was attacked, wildlife officers followed mountain lion tracks from the scene and were approached by an 80-pound female lion that appeared to have “little fear of humans,” which is abnormal, according to the wildlife department.
The officers killed the mountain lion and took the carcass, along with clothing and other samples from the boy, to the department’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for a necropsy and DNA analysis.
Officials said the probability of being attacked by a mountain lion is very low. The last confirmed lion attack in California was also non-fatal and occurred in 2014.