NEAR CALABASAS, WEST OF LOS ANGELES-NEWS AND COMMENT: A mother punched a mountain lion to force it to release her five-year-old son from its jaws. It worked. The mountain lion pounced as the boy was playing on the lawn outside his home.
The mother was alerted to the attack by a commotion and screaming. She immediately ran outside and struck the lion with her fists. She has been described as an ‘absolute hero’ by Captain Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The boy was playing near a tree when he was attacked and dragged about 45 yards according to wildlife officials. He was injured in his head, upper torso and neck and is now recovering at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
Apparently, the mountain lion was known to the authorities because it was labelled lion P54. The cat was known since it was a kitten born in October (presumably last year). If that is true, this mountain lion was an immature adult. This may account for the attack. A lot of mountain lions in the US are labelled and tracked. They are aware of these individuals presumably for conservation reasons.
The Times reports that the cat was tracked down and shot dead. Comment: being animal lover as I am, and I would hope other people would agree with me, it seems highly unfortunate and I would say wrong to shoot this mountain lion dead when a woman managed to force it to release her son. It is time that people learn to live in harmony with wildlife and not try and destroy it. Often what happens is that human settlements occupy the home range of pumas and therefore they are living within the habitat of a large cat. You could argue that humans are the authors of their own problems and on that basis is it fair to blame the cat?
The experts say that when confronted by a mountain lion you should scare them away rather than run away. They are frightened of humans. Mothers defend their cubs, however. If you run away from the puma, it triggers their hunting response and they will come after you. The mountain lion is nowhere near as aggressive as the African lion or the Bengal tiger for instance. They can be quite retiring in nature and shy almost. Attacks like this are incredibly rare and deaths are even rarer. The ordinary domestic dog kills far more people than any puma.