Cougar injured small boy in San Diego park
A female cougar injured a four-year-old boy in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego County. The preserve is part of the city of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.
Department of Fish and Wildlife game wardens killed the mountain lion before the cougar injured other park visitors, and to confirm that this puma actually was the one attacking the park visitors.
The results of the DNA comparison test established without any doubt that the killed cougar was indeed responsible for the attack on the little boy. Read details about where and how the cougar injures the little boy and the DNA test below.
A small four-year-old boy suffered non-life threatening injuries during the attack. The father of the boy prevented more serious injuries by confronting the puma, kicking it, and throwing rocks at the cat. The San Diego Fire-Rescue treated the injuries that were indicative of a puma attack. The wildlife officers found and identified corresponding cougar tracks at the scene near Carson’s Crossing.
The game wardens also were approached by the catamount while still investigating the circumstances of the attack. The cougar showed very little fear of humans which indicates that it was a habituated animal. Pumas, like most other wildlife, normally avoid humans at all cost. A habituated cougar is a serious threat, however, because it has lost his fear of humans. Therefore, the wildlife officers immediately killed the puma to neutralize the danger.
I apologize to the sensitive feelings, eyes, and ears of our caring nature lovers (and Google to boot) who do not want to hear about ‘dispatching’ any animal. Yet, death is part of life and a habituated catamount can easily cut short even human life. A dead cougar is a good cougar. Dispatch first and then ask questions.
To be sure that the rogue cougar was dispatched and not some cute, cuddly overgrown kitty, the officers collected clothes and other identifying samples from the boy and the carcass and sent them to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for a necropsy and DNA analysis.
A cougar attack is rare though humans are encroaching more and more on lion habitat. The last attack in San Diego county happened over 20 years ago. Many recorded attacks by catamounts occur in more remote wilderness areas. They often involved bicyclists or hikers but not city park visitors in groups. A cougar injures mostly lone bikers and hikers.
Yet, because people move closer to mountain lion habitat, recently confrontations have become more frequent as a Redwood City couple can confirm. A cougar confronted them in their very own driveway. However, the cougar injured none of them.
The attacking cougar was a female of about 86 pounds. It can inflict major and life-threatening damage. The little boy is lucky that his father was present and had the courage to confront the lion.