LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) - A 3-year-old boy was in stable condition after suffering severe wounds in an attack by a mountain lion in a California wilderness park, authorities said.
The attack occurred Monday in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, the Orange County Fire Authority said.
The boy was grabbed by the neck and his father threw a backpack at the cougar. It let go of the child, grabbed the pack and climbed a tree, fire Capt. Tony Bommarito told KTLA.
The sheriff's department said it helped evacuate the park and then got permission from state wildlife officials to kill the lion.
Landon Wright, a mountain biker, told The Orange County Register he came across the injured boy being carried by his mother, who told him to watch out for the cougar
"She was pretty shaken up, but she was at least able to warn me," Wright said. "She scurried off down the trail, and I was curious."
Wright said he spotted the cougar in the tree and waited to warn other passersby because it was not readily visible from the trail. He said he left when armed deputies arrived. He heard a gunshot as he pedaled away.
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park sprawls over 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) of canyons and grasslands in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.
In 2004, a mountain lion killed a lone cyclist in the park and hours later mauled another passing cyclist who survived.