End of the hunt for the cougar that attacked a 5-year-old Californian boy

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. – California wildlife officials have called off a search for a mountain lion that attacked a 5-year-old boy who was on a hiking trail in rural Northern California, saying there had little chance of capturing the animal.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday that DNA testing confirmed a mountain lion was responsible for last Tuesday’s attack in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.

But efforts to find and capture the lion have been hampered as investigators were denied access to private property near the site of the attack.

“This lack of access, combined with deteriorating weather conditions and the nomadic nature of the cougars, has diminished the chances of a successful capture,” said Department spokesman Captain Patrick Foy.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, the boy was on the trail along Tunitas Creek Road and had outstripped his mother and grandparents when the big cat lunged at him and pinned him to the ground, authorities said and his family members.

His mother, Suzie Trexler, charged the cougar and he let the boy go and ran away.

The boy was not bitten, Foy said. However, his face was scratched and he had a fractured bone near his eye, his aunt, Amie Wagner, told the Chronicle.

He was treated at a local hospital.

Cougar attacks on humans are rare. About 20 confirmed attacks have taken place in California in more than a century of record keeping, and only three have been fatal, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Last September, a 7-year-old boy was bitten by a mountain lion while walking with his father at dusk in a park near Santa Clarita, Southern California. The father scared the animal away and the child was treated for relatively minor injuries.

The latest incident before Tuesday’s occurred in September when a cougar attacked a 7-year-old boy at Pico Canyon Park in Los Angeles County. This child also survived.


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