SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — A 5-year-old boy was “viciously attacked” by a mountain lion Tuesday night in an unincorporated area of San Mateo County, according to officials.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the boy could have died in the attack, but the San Mateo County Sheriff has updated that he is expected to recover.
The boy was on a hike with his mom and grandfather on private property when the mountain lion went after him and took him to the ground, Fish and Wildlife officials say.
The sheriff says the boy has puncture wounds and the DWF says the cougar was chewing on him. Deputies responded to the attack around 6:50 p.m. in the 1000 block of Tunitas Creek Road, where the boy was conscious when he was transported to the hospital.
The attack is said to have been unprovoked and the boy’s mom saved his life by picking him up and carrying him to safety.
Game wardens are in the area Wednesday morning looking for the mountain lion, with the intention “to capture and remove the animal.”
DFW officials will be interviewing the mother and getting a sample of the mountain lion’s DNA from the boy’s clothing. That way, if they capture the mountain lion, they can see if it is the one who attacked the boy.
They can’t confirm that it was just one cougar that attacked, or if it was a cub.
Video of the area surrounding Tunitas Creek Road shows conditions made for wildlife. It’s the reason why neighbors say they aren’t surprised to hear about a mountain lion sighting — but they are surprised over an attack.
In the hours that followed, ABC7 met a resident who lives on the neighboring property from where the incident happened. He says he was the first one on scene.
“They were pretty calm when I pulled up, they’re my neighbors so I asked them if they were okay. They were very… they were good. They said everybody’s fine, but they had to talk to fish and game, and a warden pulled up right as I pulled out,” neighbor Chad Conover said. “Typically the mountain lions avoid people, so it’s not often you hear about an attack on a human.”
Conover says the boy was on the backside of the property, a home where the child’s parent happened to be working.
On Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office released the following statement in response to this incident:
“Our coastal community has endured so much these past few weeks. Our entire agency is saddened of this news and sends many warm wishes to the child for a speedy and full recovery. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”
Stay with ABC7 News for the latest details on this developing story.
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