DNA tests prove mountain lion attacked boy

DNA testing

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers killed a mountain lion that attacked a 4-year-old boy at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve because the animal appeared to have little fear of humans.

The boy was taken to Rady’s Children’s Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries from the attack, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and the CDFW. He had injuries to his head and back but was released a day later and is expected to make a full recovery.

The boy was in a group of 11 people at the time, in an area known as Carson’s Crossing in the center of the preserve. The large cat apparently jumped out of the bushes and attacked the child. Most of the group scattered, but the boy’s father kicked the mountain lion and threw a rock to scare it away.

Wildlife officers responded to the scene and identified mountain lion tracks. Shortly thereafter, an 80-pound female cougar approached the officers.

“The lion appeared to have little fear of humans, which is abnormal behavior for a mountain lion”, the lieutenant said. “The wildlife officers immediately dispatched the animal to ensure public safety.”

Clothing from the boy was sent to the CDFW Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento, along with the mountain lion’s body, for DNA analysis. Forensics specialists DNA tested the samples and confirmed that the deceased cat was responsible for the attack.

Mountain lion attacks are extremely rare and this is the first in more than 20 years in San Diego county, according to CDFW Lt. Scott Bringman.

“Mountain lions are not social animals”, he said. “They’re very shy animals and nine times out of 10 you will never see a mountain lion in your life. They usually go out at night or early morning.”

If people ever do come in contact with a big cat, CDFW has a few tips.

“Don’t run – act as big as you can”, Bringman said. “Shout or throw rocks.” For information on AlphaBiolabs’ range of DNA testing services, call us now on 727-325-2902 or email info@alphabiolabsusa.com

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