Santa Clara County

6-Year-Old Attacked by Mountain Lion at Rancho San Antonio Preserve

The girl was released to her parents after being treated

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Rancho San Antonio Preserve in California's Santa Clara County is temporarily closed after a 6-year-old girl was attacked by a mountain lion while walking on a trail Sunday, authorities confirmed.

The girl was walking with her father and several other adults and children around 9:45 a.m., about a mile from the front entrance, when a mountain lion bit her in the calf. The dad's friend fought off the animal.

Rangers closed the park 10 minutes after the attack was reported and crews on ATVs alerted hikers to leave the park.

Several teams with the Department of Fish and Wildlife searched for the animal - believed to weigh about 100 pounds - late into the night with a group of specially trained dogs from Oroville.

Unable to locate the animal, the search was called off for the night and was slated to resume Monday morning. The park will remain closed until further notice.

The goal is for the dogs to "tree" the mountain lion and have officials shoot it with a tranquilizer gun. A DNA swab will be taken from the animal to see if it matches bite wounds from the girl.

Midpen Open Space tweeted the park is closed to allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to investigate the incident.

After the animal is located and identified, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will determine what action to take.

The public is being asked to avoid the area to let officials work safely.

Back in August, Rancho San Antonio was was closed for a short time because some mountain lions were exhibiting unusual behavior.

Officials say seeing a mountain lion is rare and "very unusual." Park visitors are urged to remain vigilant when in mountain lion territory.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has only confirmed 17 mountain lion attacks on humans in the last 100 years.

Contact Us