Wildlife officers resumed their hunt Wednesday for an “aggressive mountain lion” that attacked and injured a 7-year-old boy at a park in Santa Clarita.
Pico Canyon Park was closed Tuesday evening and would remain closed indefinitely while authorities tried to capture the big cat, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The attack occurred Monday when wildlife officials say the lion bit the 7-year-old on the buttocks as he walked up a flight of stairs.
“The father was not far behind. He heard his son scream out and ran to his aid,” Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told KTLA.
The father managed to scare away the mountain lion.
The boy was hospitalized with relatively minor wounds, which were swabbed for DNA.
“You can gain a DNA profile that gives you two things,” Foy said. “One, it can conclusively prove that a mountain lion is responsible for the attack. And two, it can give you a DNA profile of the actual offending animal.”
Wildlife experts say mountain lions typically pose little threat to humans and generally avoid any human interaction.
They offer the following tips if you encounter one:
- Do not hike, bike, or jog alone and avoid doing so at dawn, dusk or nighttime.
- Stay alert on trails.
- Keep a close watch on small children and off leash pets.
- Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
- Do not run if you spot a mountain lion.
- Stay calm and do not turn your back.
- Face the animal, make loud noises and try to look bigger.
- Do not crouch down or bend over.
- Anyone who spots a mountain lion is asked to immediately call 911.