What would you do if your saw your child in the jaws of a mountain lion? Instead of panicking, one quick-thinking mom in Colorado wrestled her 5-year-old son from a pair of mountain lions, just outside her home. According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), the attack happened on June 17 in the backyard of a residence near Woody Creek. Officials say that the attack happened at night when the boy was playing outside with his brother. The mother, who remains unnamed, said she heard a scream and went outside, only to see a mountain lion gripping her son with its teeth. A second animal also roamed nearby.
Moving quickly, the mom was able to grab her son and transport him to a hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his face, neck, and head. The mother also received some minor injuries to her legs during the incident.
“Immediately after the child’s parents reported the attack, a Pitkin County Deputy and a federal law enforcement officer working for the U.S. Forest Service arrived at the scene and discovered a lion under a tree in the backyard of the home,” CPW stated in a press release.
Officials euthanized the first cougar in the yard, and by the next morning, had located and euthanized the second mountain lion. CPW confirmed after a necropsy that the cat shot and killed in the yard was the same one that had attacked the child.
“This is very good work by everyone involved,” said CPW Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “From the time of the incident to the verification that the right lion was killed, there was a lot of hard work going on in the background by very professional people to get these results in a timely manner.”
Normally, wildlife officials might not have hunted down the second cougar as well. In this case, however, it was decided that the animal may have shared the same predatory instincts of its sibling. Both cats were juveniles and learning to hunt on their own, so it is not too surprising that the cougars decided to investigate something that older cats do not: humans.
“We acted out of an abundance of caution when we made the decision to kill the second lion,” said Velarde. “These two cats were traveling together and learning to hunt and survive together, and one of them attacked a child. We are not going to take chances in a situation like this. It is the right decision.”
Although both mountain lions were young, officials said that the cats were more than capable of injuring or killing a 5-year-old.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and the family,” Velarde concluded. “This is a tough thing for any parent to experience. The mother’s reaction to fight the lion likely saved the child’s life, and it is a good thing she responded like she did.”