A mountain lion that attacked a 5-year-old boy in southern California has been shot and killed by a wildlife officer, authorities say.
The 65-pound (30kg) mountain lion attacked the boy while he was playing near his house on Thursday in Calabasas and “dragged him about 45 yards” across the front lawn, said Captain Patrick Foy, a spokesman with the California department of fish and wildlife, on Saturday.
The boy suffered significant injuries to his head and upper torso but was in a stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital, Foy said.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” Foy said. The mother was inside the house when she heard a commotion outside.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” he said.
The parents immediately drove the boy to the hospital, where law enforcement were notified of the attack and sent a wildlife officer to the scene.
Once at the house, the officer discovered a mountain lion crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at him, Foy said.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on site,” the wildlife department said in a statement.
Subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the lion was the one responsible for attacking the child, the statement said.
Another mountain lion spotted in the area was tranquilised and then released into the wild unharmed after being tested to be sure it was not involved in the attack.