There have only been 21 verified attacks recorded in California.
Mountain Lions are among North America’s foremost apex predators. With males capable of reaching over 200lbs, they’re a formidable force — one that’s far, far stronger, and way more agile than the average man.
Like most wild animals, they’re usually more scared of us than we are of them; they just want to be left alone to vibe and live out their lives. But on the very rare occasion, these lines are blurred and large predators confront human beings.
@SMCSheriff was dispatched to a report of a mountain lion attack and we can confirm a child was transported to a local trauma center after the attack. Incident occurred on the 1000 blk of Tunitas Creek Rd. in unincorporated SMC. @CaliforniaDFW actively investigating the incident
— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) February 1, 2023
While it remains unclear if the animal was provoked or not, a 5-year-old child was reportedly bitten by a mountain lion around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, January 31st. The attack took place in the 1000 block of Tunitas Creek Road; the location sits about nine miles southeast of Half Moon Bay.
According to the Los Angles Times, the child suffered “some puncture sounders” and they were taken to a nearby trauma center by an unknown party.
San Mateo County Sheriff Department Sgt. Javier Acosta said there are no other details to be revealed at this time around the child’s condition. Though Acosta — a twenty-year veteran in the department — too, noted just how rare such an attack is: “We get mountain lions fighting, but this is the first report of attack that I can remember.”
Mountain lion was struck by vehicle in Missouri. Now conservation agents can’t find it https://t.co/kPzBgfsYmo
— The Modesto Bee (@modbee) January 25, 2023
Prior to this attack, a 7-year-old boy was attacked in Pico Canyon Park in Los Angeles County; they also suffered puncture wounds. Of those aforementioned 21 attacks recorded in California, just three have proven to be fatal. However, around 100 mountain lions are killed each and every year in California — just by vehicular accidents.
Once considered on the brink of extinction in California, there are now an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 roaming the state, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
With North American jaguars reclaiming historic ranges in the Southwestern United States, which includes parts of Southern California, run-ins with big cats will only become more probable in the future. It’s yet another reason why the merits of wildlife safety and conservation need to be taught and heeded.
Feature image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons