A 3-year-old boy was injured after a mountain lion attacked him inside a Southern California park on Monday evening. According to CNN, the incident happened at the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Trabuco Canyon, located around 50 miles south of Los Angeles. The attack eventually led to authorities evacuating the scene and launching a search for the wild animal. The mountain lion was found and euthanized, the report added.
According to NBC News, the child was walking with his family members in the park when the mountain lion attacked and grabbed the little boy by the neck. The animal reportedly attempted to climb up a tree with the child in its jaws. The attack apparently took place around 4:15 p.m. local time, in the presence of five of the child's family members.
A statement issued by Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority added that the child's life was saved by the quick action of his father, who threw a backpack at the animal seconds after the attack. After being hit by the backpack, the startled mountain lion dropped the boy, grabbed the backpack, and climbed up a tree. The injured boy was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. His condition is reported to be stable.
Officials from the Orange County Fire Authority confirmed that the Department of Fish and Wildlife had authorized local law enforcement agencies to euthanize the mountain lion responsible for the attack. This decision attracted the ire of citizens, who blamed the authorities -- and the carelessness of the child's parents -- for the attack.
While mountain lion attacks are not frequent in California, this is the second such incident that has taken place in the state in the last eight months.
Interestingly, the news of this attack comes barely a month after the department had posted a detailed report concerning an incident involving another mountain lion that was captured and safely released back into the wild.
While mountain lions don't typically attack humans, there does seem to be a trend of them attacking young children. In May 2019, at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, a 4-year-old boy was attacked. Before that, in September 2014, a 6-year-old boy was targeted by a mountain lion in Cupertino, Santa Clara.
Mountain lion attacks are rarely fatal. The last such attack was reported in January 2004 -- at the same park where this most recent incident happened, as revealed in data from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The attack left a 35-year-old man dead and a 35-year-old woman injured.
The Inquisitr previously reported a different incident involving a mountain lion and an adult male. In that case, the jogger strangled the animal to death after he was attacked.