An American woman was able to save her five-year-old son from a horrific death last Thursday after a mountain lion attacked him in the garden of their home. She was able to free the child from the clutches of the predator by heroically hitting his head. The mountain lion fled and was later shot and killed by wildlife authorities. In California, the incident is big news because a mountain lion attack is very rare.
The toddler from Calabasas, a town (24,000 residents) west of Los Angeles, was playing in the front yard at home one morning when he was grabbed out of nowhere by a mountain lion. The mountain lion sank his teeth into the child and dragged him about forty meters across the lawn. The mother was inside the house when she heard the screams of her child.
‘She ran outside and started kicking and beating the cougar with her bare hands until it let go,’ Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the Associated Press. The cougar was apparently so impressed by the mother’s fighting spirit that it fled.
The child was then taken to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital with serious head and torso injuries. He is stable and doing well. “This mom is an absolute hero who saved her son’s life, there’s no doubt about it,” said a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.
A delegation from the California government department went in search of the animal almost immediately after the incident. An employee discovered a puma hiding in the bushes near the house. “He kept his ears flat and hissed at the supervisor,” the spokesperson said.
“Because of that behavior and the proximity to the site of the attack, according to the supervisor, this was probably the cougar that attacked the child. To protect public safety, the animal was shot on the spot.”
Later DNA testing revealed that it was indeed the puma that attacked the child. It would be a young mountain lion who was still learning how to hunt and take care of itself, CBS News reports citing officials involved. It would have been more than twenty years ago that a puma attacked a man in the mountains of Santa Monica.
A Mountain lion attack is very rare, occurring on average once every four years in the United States. Cougars only attack people if they feel threatened, according to experts. An adult male can weigh up to 100 kilos, a female about 65 kilos. The cougar is the fourth largest feline on Earth. The grey-brown animal of more than a meter in length is mainly active at night and travels great distances.