(KTLA) — Wildlife officers resumed their hunt Wednesday for what was called an “aggressive mountain lion” that attacked a 7-year-old boy at a Los Angeles County park.
The sprawling Pico Canyon Park, which is located in Stevenson Ranch near Santa Clarita, California, was closed Tuesday evening and was to 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 a mountain lion bit the 7-year-old on the buttocks as he walked up a flight of stairs, wildlife officials said.
“The father was not far behind. He heard his son scream out and he ran to his aid,” Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told KTLA.
Foy said the father charged toward the big cat, which fled back into the brush at the park in foothills about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
The child was hospitalized with non-life-threatening 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 authorities were investigating the incident.
Wildlife experts say mountain lions typically pose little threat to humans and generally avoid any human interaction. Still, encounters do happen.
About 20 confirmed attacks have occurred in California in more than a century of record-keeping, Foy said.
Here are some tips to remember if you come across a mountain lion:
- 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.