An investigation has been launched in Stevenson Ranch after a seven-year-old child was attacked by a mountain lion on Monday.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Pico Canyon Park is closed until further notice after "an aggressive mountain lion" was seen in the area.
The investigation, being led by Fish and Wildlife authorities, was launched Monday after the child suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the incident. They are working to determine if the event was in fact a confirmed attack.
According to Patrick Foy, the Public Information Officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the incident occurred at around 7 p.m. on Monday, when the child and his father were walking up some stairs at Pico Canyon Park. After hearing his son scream, the father saw what authorities believe to be an adult male mountain lion by his son.
"The little guy got a little bit ahead of the dad, and next thing you know the dad heard a cry out from the son, and the dad responded, and saw a mountain lion in the process of attacking his son," Foy said on Wednesday.
He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment after the mountain lion let him go and ran away. Authorities are still unsure if the child was bitten or scratched. They are taking forensic samples in an effort to determine if the wound came did in fact come from a mountain lion.
Late Wednesday afternoon, officials confirmed that the wound the boy sustained did in fact come from a mountain lion.
Fish and Wildlife officials, armed with tranquilizer dart rifles, are set to remain in the area in hopes of capturing the animal using a trap. Several traps, utilizing deer carcasses as bait, have been laid around the trails.
"That's a lion's favorite food," Foy said. "Put it in the trap and the animal would presumably walk inside the trap, and the door closes behind it."
Signs were placed around to the park in order to warn locals to stay away from the area.
Foy said there have been two reported mountain lion attacks in 2022, the other occurring in Northern California. He said the attacks are "really, really rare."
In the instance that they do catch the mountain lion, Fish & Wildlife officials disclosed that they would most likely have to euthanize the animal.
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