California Park Closes Following Vicious Mountain Lion Attack on 7-Year-Old Boy

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A 7-year-old boy is currently recovering from a mountain lion attack in a California park near his home. The child was visiting the park on Monday when the aggressive animal unexpectedly bit him from behind. According to Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Fish and Wildlife Department, the attack took place in Pico Canyon Park near Santa Clarita.

“The young boy — about a 7-year-old boy — was walking up some stairs and was attacked from behind by a mountain lion and bitten in the buttocks,” Capt. Foy told KABC.

Thankfully, the young boy’s injuries are non-life-threatening and he’s expected to make a full recovery. Following the incident, the boy’s wounds were swabbed for DNA. In doing so, Wildlife Department officials hope to match the bite to a mountain lion in the area.

“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.”

The Department of Parks and Recreation also confirmed that Pico Canyon Park will remain closed until the completion of the investigation. “According to Fish and Wildlife authorities, the investigation is being carried out as if this were a confirmed attack. However, the investigation is still ongoing,” said the Department of Parks and Recreation in a statement.

Mountain Lion Likely to Face Euthanasia Following Attack

Capt. Patrick Foy explained that they’re currently attempting to catch the animal using a trap filled with meat. “In the trap, we placed a mountain lion’s favorite food, which is a deer carcass,” Foy said.

As of today (September 28), the mountain lion remains at large. If and when the animal is caught, it will likely be put down by authorities. Though this is far from an ideal scenario for the Wildlife Department, whose primary goal is conservation, protecting park visitors is paramount.

“Everything we do and every part of our mission is to better help wildlife and people coexist,” Foy continued. “Having a situation like this where wild animals start attacking — especially small children — that is a super difficult part of our job.”

The decision is a far less difficult one in the minds of the park’s regular visitors, who remain horrified following the shocking attack. “You gotta understand when you are walking these trails the dangers that you are walking into. It still terrifies me,” said Santa Clarita resident Francisco Salas. “It could happen to me, it could happen to anybody out here.”

California Fish and Wildlife Department asks that any mountain lion sightings in the area be immediately reported. According to Capt. Foy, however, mountain lion attacks are exceedingly rare. Only about 20 confirmed attacks have occurred in California in the last century.