A six-year-old girl was attacked by a 160-pound mountain lion as she was walking through a park and was rescued just in time when an adult that was nearby punched the cat in the ribs.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning just before 10 a.m. in the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve in Santa Clara County, California, when the six-year-old was walking with her parents in a group of six adults and four children when the mountain lion suddenly jumped out of the bushes and began to attack the child.
“It came out of the bushes and right about when it grabbed a hold of the girl and an adult pushed the mountain lion and it ran off,” said MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District ranger, Brad Pennington. The girl was reportedly walking along closely with three other children when the attack occurred and one of the adults who was nearby reportedly was able to rescue her by punching the animal in the ribs, according to ABC News’ San Francisco station KGO.
“Right now she has minor injuries,” said Pennington. “A couple punctured wounds to her calf. She was also treated for minor first aid and then her parents took her to the hospital.” The child who was attacked is expected to fully recover. The park was packed with visitors that day, according to the park rangers, who said that the preserve was experiencing one of the busiest days of the season with around 300 cars filling the parking lot.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department responded to the scene and the preserve was closed until further notice. Meanwhile, the attack itself has left visitors and those who live nearby worried and on edge about further attacks. “There are mountain lions that wander around here once in a while. It’s usually in the dark and not during the day,” said Cupertino resident, Evelyn Horng, according to KGO.
In the meantime, authorities are now trying to track the mountain lion to capture it and decide what they will do with it next. “We will immobilize the cat and put it in a large trap so it come to it. But prior to that we will take DNA samples from it so we can make sure we have the correct cat,” said Cpt. Todd Tognazzini with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I know that we wouldn’t leave the cat here.”