A 5-year-old boy who was grabbed by a mountain lion is now recovering in a Denver hospital after his mother forced the lion to drop her son.
The Friday night attack happened about 10 miles northwest of Aspen, said a statement issued by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
The father of the boy called 911 around 8 pm that night to report his son had been attacked by a mountain lion. The father told dispatchers he was driving his injured son to Aspen Valley Hospital and disconnected.
During an interview with the mother deputies learned the 5 year old boy had been playing outside with his older brother.
Mountain lion grabbed boy outside home
From inside their home, the boy’s mother heard screaming coming from outside. When she ran outside of their home, the mother saw the mountain lion had her son. She was able to physically remove her son from the mountain lion.
The boy sustained injuries to his face, head and neck. The mother sustained minor injuries to her hand and legs. The mother was able to accurately describe to deputies where the mountain lion had attacked her son.
A short time later deputies, along with a law enforcement officer from the US Forest Service went to the house and were able to locate a mountain lion in the same area of the front yard that had previously been described by the mother of the injured boy.
Officers find, put down mountain lion
That mountain lion was put down by the US Forest Service law enforcement officer.
A second lion that was reported to be in the area earlier the day is still being sought by wildlife officials. The boy is now recovering in hospital. His condition is not life-threatening.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife website says mountain lions are generally calm, quiet, and elusive but interaction with humans are on the rise.
Increased human and mountain lion encounters
Mountain lions tend to live in remote, primitive country with plentiful deer and adequate cover. Such conditions exist in mountain subdivisions, urban fringes, and open spaces.
Recently, the number of mountain lion/human interactions has increased due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- More people moving into lion habitat
- Increase in deer populations and density
- Presumed increase in lion numbers and expanded range
- More people using hiking and running trails in lion habitat
- A greater awareness of the presence of lions.
Fight off an attack
Experts recommends people may consider fighting back if attacked by a mountain lion.
“People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully,” the website says.
“Lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America in more than 100 years,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.
To reduce the risk of problems with mountain lions on or near your property, people can take some simple precautions like making lots of noise if you come and go during the times mountain lions are most active: dusk to dawn.
People who live in areas where mountain lions lurk should also install outside lighting and light areas where you walk so you could see a lion if one were present.
Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
Residents are also advised to landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas so it is difficult for lions to approach unseen.
Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto human’s property because predators follow prey.
Photo credit: USFWS