LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) — Tests have confirmed that a mountain lion killed by authorities on Monday is the same animal that injured a 3-year-old boy earlier in the day at a Southern California wilderness park, officials said.
The boy suffered a bite wound to the back of his neck and was treated at a hospital and then released.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department helped evacuate Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park after the attack, and then got permission from state wildlife officials to kill the lion.
“After comparing DNA on the victim’s clothing to DNA taken from the animal carcass, wildlife forensic specialists confirmed the young 55 pound female lion killed in the park is the same lion that was involved in the attack,” the state Department of Fish & Wildlife said in a statement Thursday.
The boy and five family members were hiking when the cougar grabbed the child in its mouth and dragged him a short distance. His father threw a backpack at the animal, which let go of the boy, grabbed the pack and climbed a tree, authorities said.
The lion was killed because “it was a clear threat to public safety,” wildlife officials said.
Mountain lion attacks are “extremely rare," Fish & Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy said at a Tuesday news conference.
There have been only 16 attacks recorded in California in a century, three of them fatal, Foy said.