SAN DIEGO — A mountain lion that was killed by wildlife officers was responsible for the attack of a 4-year-old in a Rancho Peñasquitos canyon earlier this week, officials confirmed Friday.
Wildlife officers collected DNA samples from the victim and mountain lion following the attack Monday. A DNA analysis from the boy’s clothing and the big cat’s carcass proved the mountain lion killed was the same one from the attack, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The attack happened around 2:30 p.m. Monday near Park Village and Mannix roads, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The child was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital to be treated for a non-life-threatening injury.
A hospital spokesman said Tuesday that the youngster was in good condition and was expected to be released soon.
Witnesses said the boy’s father kicked the animal and threw a rock to scare it away.
The boy was with a group of 11 people at the time, in an area known as Carson’s Crossing in the center of the preserve, Bringman said.
Wildlife officers responded to the scene and identified mountain lion tracks, then a cougar approached the officers a short time later.
“The lion appeared to have little fear of humans, which is abnormal behavior for a mountain lion,” the lieutenant said. “The wildlife officers immediately killed the animal to ensure public safety.”
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.
The last confirmed mountain lion attack in California came in September 2014, when a 6-year-old boy suffered non-life-threatening injuries in Cupertino, according to the CDFW.
The last time a mountain lion attacked someone in San Diego County was in December 1994, when a 56-year-old woman was killed at Cuyamaca State Park.