A wildlife tracker said he spotted fresh paw prints by a creek in Cupertino that he believes belong to a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy on Sunday afternoon.
Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre said based on the size of the prints – which apparently belong to a male cat, about the size of an average teenager – the tracker is edging closer to the animal's movements. The prints were spotted either Tuesday or Wednesday morning, she said.
He and other trackers have been working around the clock since Sunday afternoon when a boy was injured by a mountain lion while out with his family on the Picchetti Ranch Zinfandel Trail near the Picchetti Winery. The lion came out of nowhere and bit the boy's neck and back, as if he were "a deer," Fish and Game Lt. Pat Foy said in a previous interview.
The boy's father and a family friend yelled and screamed at the lion, which ran off. The boy was taken to Valley Medical Center in San Jose and released on Monday. His family has declined interviews.
Foy said, because the lion was so aggressive and vicious, wardens have deemed it a matter of public safety to hunt the cat down and kill him.
On Wednesday, a scientist at the Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento determined the cat was a male based on saliva found on the boy's T-shirt. Foy said the scientist cut out the holes of the shirt, isolating the puncture wounds made by the cat's teeth.
Mountain lion attacks causing death and serious injury are rare in California. There have only been three deadly cases since 1986, when the Department of Fish and Game began documenting them. They occurred in El Dorado, San Diego and Orange counties.
There have been 11 nonfatal cases in California during that time period – none in the Bay Area.