California mom saves son, 5, from mountain lion attack using her 'bare hands'

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Fox News 29 August, 2021 - 05:16am 34 views

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A Los Angeles-area woman fought off a 65-pound mountain lion that was attacking her 5-year-old son on Thursday using her bare hands, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

The animal attacked the boy while he was in his family's front yard in Calabasas, leaving him with injuries to his head, neck and chest, the department said Saturday. 

The mountain lion "dragged him about 45 yards" across the front lawn, said Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the department. 

The boy was in stable condition, recovering from the incident, according to the department. 

The boy’s mother heard the commotion from inside the house and ran outside and "started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son," Foy said.

"The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life."

The mountain lion was later killed by a wildlife officer. 

The parents immediately drove the boy to a hospital, where law enforcement officers were notified of the attack and sent a wildlife officer to the scene.

Once at the house, the officer discovered a mountain lion crouching in the bushes with its "ears back and hissing" at him, Foy said.

"Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on site," the wildlife department said. DNA tests later proved it was the attacking lion. 

After the mountain lion was shot another appeared and was tranquilized and moved to another location. That mountain lion, found the be collared and part of a National Park Service study, was not part of the attack and has no known history of attacking humans, the department said. 

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Woman Fights Off Mountain Lion To Save 5-Year-Old Son

CBS Los Angeles 29 August, 2021 - 11:10am

Mountain Lion Attacks Boy

CBS Los Angeles 29 August, 2021 - 11:10am

California: mother fights off mountain lion with bare hands to save 5-year-old son

The Guardian 29 August, 2021 - 01:18am

The 65-pound (30kg) mountain lion attacked the boy while he was playing near his house on Thursday in Calabasas and “dragged him about 45 yards” across the front lawn, said Captain Patrick Foy, a spokesman with the California department of fish and wildlife, on Saturday.

The boy suffered significant injuries to his head and upper torso but was in a stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital, Foy said.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” Foy said. The mother was inside the house when she heard a commotion outside.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” he said.

The parents immediately drove the boy to the hospital, where law enforcement were notified of the attack and sent a wildlife officer to the scene.

Once at the house, the officer discovered a mountain lion crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at him, Foy said.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department said in a statement.

Subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the lion was the one responsible for attacking the child, the statement said.

Another mountain lion spotted in the area was tranquilised and then released into the wild unharmed after being tested to be sure it was not involved in the attack.

Mountain lion shot and killed following attack on Calabasas boy | The Acorn

Agoura Hills Acorn 28 August, 2021 - 05:10pm

Serving Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Oak Park & Westlake Village

Breaking News: Mountain lion shot and killed following attack on Calabasas boy

MOTHER–P-54, shown here, gave birth to a pair of male offspring in 2020. One of the sons weighed 65-pounds and attacked a 5-year-old Calabasas child last Thursday. The boy is said to be recovering.                                                                                                                                                            Courtesy of National Park Service

A 5-year-old child was hospitalized earlier this week after being attacked by a mountain lion in the front yard of his home in unincorporated Los Angeles County near Calabasas, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reports.

The boy remains in stable condition with injuries to his head, neck and upper torso. The year-old male lion that attacked him was later shot and killed by a Fish and Wildlife officer.

The attack occurred the morning of Aug. 26 in the Monte Nido neighborhood when a 65-pound cougar went after the boy in the family’s front yard, officials said. The mother was able to drive the animal off by striking it multiple times.

CDFW dispatched members of its law enforcement division to the rural Calabasas residence to investigate the attack. A statement from the agency said the officer found “an aggressive mountain lion” on the property. 

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the (officer) believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety, shot and killed it on site,” CDFW said.

About 20 minutes after the animal was killed, a fully-grown, 4-year-old female mountain lion known as P-54, fitted with a GPS tracking collar as part of a National Park Service study of the animals, appeared near the attack site. The female was accompanied by another year-old male, also a P-54 offspring and the apparent brother of the attacking lion that was killed.

The second juvenile was tranquilized so researchers could determine if it might had been the attacker. An examination of the carcass and its tranquilized brother revealed traces of human blood and tissue that matched the DNA of the victim under the claws of the dead lion, confirming the officer had shot the correct offender.

Biologists learned of P-54’s two male offspring in 2020. Neither was collared at birth. The mother of the injured boy said the cougar that attacked him last Thursday was not wearing a tracking collar.

Ana Beatriz Cholo, park service spokesperson, said her department is hopeful the boy has a speedy recovery. Cholo said the mother’s actions were “exactly the right thing to do,” and said her quick thinking saved the child’s life.

There have been several recorded attacks on livestock in the region, but this is the first recorded attack on a human in the Santa Monica Mountains in the 20 years that NPS researchers have been tracking cougars with GPS collars. CDFW lists three attacks since January 2020, but all occurred in other areas of California. The last recorded attack on a human in the Los Angeles area reportedly occurred in 1995 in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Cholo said she didn’t want to downplay the seriousness of what happened on Aug. 26, but wanted people to understand how uncommon attacks on humans are.

“This is an incredibly rare incident. We’ve been studying mountain lions here for 20 years and this is the first such instance we know of (in the Santa Monica Mountains). This is tragic and hopefully we’ll never see something like this happen again,” Cholo said.

In January 2018, P-54’s mom, P-23, was found dead near the side of Malibu Canyon Road, likely struck by a vehicle, the National Park Service said. P-54 was 1-year-old at the time of her mom’s death, which is typically around the time when kittens leave their mother.

P-54 survived, and was captured and collared for the park service study in February 2018 while roaming on the campus of Pepperdine University.

It was one of P-54’s year-old offspring that was killed last week following its attack on the Calabasas boy.

Los Angeles is one of only two cities in the world—the other being Mumbai, India—where big cats live alongside human beings in an urban setting.

Developments and major roadways have divided much of the open space in the region and isolated the animals, limiting their gene pool. Researchers say without intervention, the animals could go extinct in the next 50 years.

Beth Pratt, the regional director of the National Wildlife Federation, has been leading the charge to build a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills that would connect the Santa Monica Mountains with the Simi Hills and create a larger territory for wildlife to aid in their reproduction.

Pratt said killing the mountain lion following the Calabasas incident was “tragic,” but also the right thing to do. She said the wildlife federation supports any efforts to insure that aggressive animals are dealt with humanely.

“I work in conservation and live among mountain lions. We never want this to happen. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion, but that’s not a comfort when lightning strikes,” Pratt said. “We’re keeping the family in our thoughts.”

Opponents of the wildlife crossing point to attacks like the one on Aug. 26 as a reason not to save mountain lions, but Pratt said the bridge won’t bring more big cats to the area—if anything it will help them leave.

“It’s not bringing more of anything, it’s just ensuring these animals don’t vanish, which will happen if we don’t intervene. When people tell me they’re not comfortable living among wild predators—we do everything we can to educate people and show them the risks are minimal, but if someone has that position I won’t try to talk them out of it,” Pratt said.

“We want people to be safe but we don’t want people running scared either. From what I know this was a juvenile; it’s usually the juveniles, they don’t know their way yet.”

Mountain lion killed after mauling 5-year-old in Santa Monica Mountains

Yahoo News 28 August, 2021 - 02:51pm

A mountain lion was mauling her 5-year-old son in front of her.

Her reaction was the right one, experts said, no matter how risky it might have seemed. She attacked the 65-pound animal, striking it with her bare hands, until it withdrew.

Her decisiveness saved the boy's life, but he was still in grave danger, mauled on his head, neck and torso, authorities said. She and her husband, whose identities have been withheld, carried him into their car and drove to a hospital near their home in the unincorporated Monte Nido neighborhood in the Santa Monica Mountains.

From there, he was transferred to Los Angeles Children's Hospital, authorities said. He was stable Saturday.

As rumors of the Thursday morning attack spread through nearby communities of Malibu and Calabasas, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife kept silent while piecing together what happened.

The investigation concluded Saturday when a rabies test proved negative, said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Patrick Foy.

In its report, the agency confirmed that a juvenile male mountain lion later shot and killed by a wildlife agent was the animal that attacked the boy. The cougar was an offspring of the female known as P-54, whose life has been celebrated from birth through her own delivery of three cubs who were later presumed to have died.

In an interview, Foy detailed a second drama in which wildlife agents killed the offending mountain lion, tranquilized and released its brother and identified P-54 as their mother.

Learning of the attack from the hospital, the agency dispatched Lt. Jacob Coombs to the site. He interviewed the mother who had returned from the hospital to be with her other son.

With his patrol rifle in hand, Coombs searched the property and soon saw a mountain lion crouched in some shrubs, Foy said. He shot and killed it.

As he was gathering forensic evidence from the carcass, he noticed two other lions looking at him, Foy said. One was wearing a radio collar.

Coombs "didn't want to just start killing," Foy said.

So Coombs went back to his vehicle to get a tranquilizer gun.

He also called the boy's mother to ask if the lion that mauled her son had a collar, Foy said. She said it did not, eliminating that lion as the attacker.

He shot a dart into the animal that did not have a collar, Foy said. It took Coombs and another agent an hour and a half to find the animal where it had fallen. They caged it and took it to a facility.

At the same time, another agent was sent to the hospital to take samples from the boy, Foy said.

Agents then drove samples from the two lions and the boy to the agency's Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Sacramento.

The analysis, completed Friday, found DNA from only one animal in the boy's wounds and matched it to the dead cougar.

By then the National Park Service, which tracks mountain lions, had determined that the third lion was P-54 and that she had moved far, deep into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Her surviving cub, having been cleared of involvement in the attack, was collared, christened P-97 and released near where P-54 was tracked.

Foy acknowledged that the agency would probably be criticized not only for releasing one sibling but also for killing the other.

"There is much angst with people who are furious that we killed the mountain lion responsible for attacking that boy," Foy said.

He said the officer made the right decision to kill the cougar.

"It was trying to kill and eat that child, unfortunately," Foy said. "Many members of the public don't want to ever think of a human being as a prey item. It does happen sometimes."

It is also rare. Foy said there have been four validated mountain lion attacks in California since 2019.

Ana Beatriz Cholo, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said Thursday's attack was the first in the region's mountains in the 20 years the agency has been studying the cougar population.

Cholo said residents and people hiking in the mountains should be aware that they could encounter cougars and should know what to do.

"Do not turn around and run away," she said. "Keep kids close by. Put them on your shoulders. Try to look bigger than you are. If it doesn't work and the mountain lion doesn't leave, you need to be more assertive."

Cholo credited the boy's mother for taking the right action.

"She fought back," she said. "She used her bare hands. If you have a rock or stick, use that."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Mountain lion killed after attacking 5-year-old boy in his front yard near Calabasas

KTLA Los Angeles 28 August, 2021 - 02:07pm

The 65-pound mountain lion left the boy with wounds to his head, neck and upper torso when it attacked around 10:45 a.m. Thursday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.

The child’s mother fended off the lion by striking it multiple times, officials said.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” the department’s Capt. Patrick Foy told the Associated Press. “The mother was inside the house when she heard commotion outside.”

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” he said.

The parents then rushed the boy to a hospital, where he remained in stable condition Saturday.

The incident marks the first verified mountain lion attack on a human in Los Angeles County in more than 25 years.

Authorities were not specific about where the incident occurred but multiple posts on the neighborhood news site Nextdoor indicated the attack took place in the Monte Nido community, which is in the Santa Monica Mountains between Calabasas and Malibu.

Fish and Wildlife officers quickly visited the scene, where an officer discovered an “aggressive” mountain lion crouched in the corner of the property while clearing the family’s yard, officials said.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on site,” Fish and Wildlife said.

Just about 20 minutes later, two more mountain lions appeared.

One was a full-grown adult with a radio collar around its neck — later identified as P-54 — and the other a smaller, 65-pound mountain lion.

“After confirming with the boy’s mother that the attacking lion did not have a collar, the wildlife officer used a non-lethal tranquilizing rifle to capture the other non-collared lion,” officials said.

Authorities confirmed that the mountain lion shot and killed was the one responsible for injuring the boy.

They analyzed samples from underneath the claws of the dead lion and isolated traces of human tissue and blood with a DNA profile that matched the boy’s.

A full lion DNA profile was also isolated from the victim’s shirt that matched the profile of the lion carcass, officials said.

“Results were conclusive that it was the attacking lion that was shot by the wildlife officer on scene,” Fish and Wildlife said.

The mountain lion that attacked the child is one of P-54’s cubs, according Foy.

P-54, which is known to have birthed cubs in October 2020, has since left the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the tranquilized lion was collared and released in the nearest suitable habitat near P-54.

The National Park Service has been studying mountain lions and their movement in the area, monitoring nearly 100 big cats in and around the Santa Monica Mountains using GPS radio-collars.

Mountain lion attacks are incredibly rare in California. There hasn’t been an attack in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to the wildlife agency.

Experts say mountain lions are generally calm and elusive, and the potential for being killed or injured by a mountain lion is low compared to many other natural hazards, according to the National Park Service.

Here are some tips on what to do if a mountain lion approaches.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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