Traps set after apparent cougar attack on homeless man

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PERRIS, Calif. — Baited traps have been set to catch a mountain lion that apparently attacked a homeless man in Perris early Saturday, according to wildlife officials.

Mountain LionA 50-year-old homeless man was taken to the hospital about 8 a.m. Saturday with lacerations, puncture wounds and bite marks at the base of his skull, injuries consistent with a mountain lion attack, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Law enforcement officers and biologists scoured the area but were unable to locate the animal. The department does not have the capabilities to track the animal but at least two baited traps have been set, said CDFW Lt. Patrick Foy.

The lion will be killed in the interest of public safety if it is found, he said. Forensic evidence will also be collected to match it to the victim, if possible.

This is the first such incident to happen in the Perris area, and attacks on humans are “very, very rare,” Foy said.

The man, who may have been attacked several hours earlier, walked from a homeless encampment near Highway 74 west of the 215 Freeway to the nearest residence to call 911, Foy said. Officials are still waiting to interview the victim, who had surgery Saturday night and is in unknown condition.

Anyone who encounters a mountain lion should not run but face the animal, make noise and look bigger by waving his or her arms, according to department recommendations. Those living in areas with mountain lions should not bike, jog or hike alone or at times when the animals are active – dawn, dusk and at night. If a mountain lion attacks, immediately call 911.

Read more at latimes.com.