HALF MOON BAY, Calif. California wildlife authorities have called off the search for a mountain lion that attacked a 5-year-old boy on a hiking trail in northern California, saying there was little chance of catching the animal.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday that DNA testing confirmed a mountain lion was responsible for last Tuesday’s attack in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.
But efforts to track down and capture the lion were hampered because investigators were denied access to private property near the attack site.
“This lack of access, combined with the worsening climate and the nomadic nature of the pumas, has diminished the chances of a successful capture,” said Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the department.
Shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, the boy was on the trail along Tunitas Creek Road and had run ahead of his mother and grandparents when the big cat lunged at him and pinned him to the ground, authorities said. relatives.
His mother, Suzie Trexler, charged at the cougar and the cougar let go of the boy and ran off.
The child was not bitten, Foy said. However, his face was scraped and he had a fractured bone near his eye, his aunt, Amie Wagner, told the Chronicle.
He was treated at a local hospital.
Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare. There have been about 20 confirmed attacks in California in more than a century of record-keeping, and only three have been fatal, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Last September, a 7-year-old boy was bitten by a mountain lion while walking with his father at dusk in a park near Santa Clarita in southern California. The father startled the animal and the boy was treated for relatively minor injuries.
The last incident before Tuesday occurred in September when a cougar attacked a 7-year-old boy at Pico Canyon Park in Los Angeles County. That child also survived.