Authorities are on the hunt for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy on Sunday afternoon near a winery in the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino, according to a spokesman from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Lt. Patrick Foy told the Los Angeles Times the attack occurred at about 1:15 p.m. on Sunday. The mountain lion began dragging the boy away before his parents intervened and were able to halt the attack. The boy is reportedly in fair condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he is recovering from puncture wounds and scratches.
Foy told the Times that hounds would be dispatched Monday to search for the mountain lion. If any animal is captured with DNA that matches that of the mountain lion, it will be killed as a matter of public safety.
The boy’s father reportedly told Foy the mountain lion “came out of nowhere” and began attacking his child.
“A 6-year-old child in no way can defend himself from a mountain lion,” Foy said in the report. “He was very lucky he was with his parents.”
Park visitor Shawn Ardaiz told KTVU he witnessed the aftermath of the attack.
“The man came down the trail carrying his son,” Ardaiz said. “It looked like he had a laceration on his neck and was bleeding pretty heavily all over.”
Despite the attack on the boy, mountain lion attacks are generally rare; according to the Daily Mail, there were just 13 attacks between 1986-2013, and only three resulted in fatalities. The six-year-old boy was not even the youngest victim of a mountain lion attack in the state; in 1986, a five-year-old girl was attacked by a mountain lion in Caspers Wilderness Park.