LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) confirmed Saturday that a mountain lion was shot and killed after attacking a 5-year-old boy Thursday near Calabasas.
CDFW said the 65-pound mountain lion attacked the boy in his front yard around 10:45 a.m. Thursday, causing wounds to the boy's head, neck and upper torso.
The boy's mother reportedly fended off the lion by hitting it multiple times.
The boy was then driven by his parents to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He remains in stable condition.
After learning of the attack, CDFW's law enforcement division immediately began an investigation. Crews interviewed the boy's family and visited the family's home to inspect the scene of the attack. Once there, a wildlife officer reported finding an aggressive mountain lion crouched in the corner of the property.
Due to the mountain lion's behavior and how close it remained to the scene of the attack, the warden believed it was the same lion that attacked the young boy. The lion was then shot and killed on site.
CDFW said about 20 minutes after the mountain lion was killed, two more mountain lions appeared in the area. One was described as a full-grown adult with a radio collar around its neck. The other was a smaller mountain lion about the same 65-pound size as the lion that was killed.
After confirming with the boy's mother that the attacking lion did not have a collar, wildlife officers used a non-lethal tranquilizing rifle to capture the non-collared lion.
DNA samples were taken from the tranquilized lion, the deceased lion and the 5-year-old boy and sent to a CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento to determine which cat was responsible for the attack.
There, scientists analyzed the deceased lion's carcass where they found traces of human tissue and blood under its claws matching the 5-year-old boy.
Additional, crews said a full lion DNA profile was collected from the boy's shirt which matched the profile taken from the lion carcass.
Investigators were then able to safely confirm that the lion they killed was the lion responsible for attacking the young boy.
The tranquilized lion was determined to not be affiliated with the attack and was collared and released back into the wild.