CDFW’s Wildlife Forensics Lab Confirms Identify of Cupertino Mountain Lion

Media Contacts:
Patrick Foy, CDFW Enforcement, (916) 508-7095
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed forensics testing of the mountain lion killed by wildlife officials in Cupertino on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Test results from the department’s Wildlife Forensics Lab confirmed this was the same lion that attacked a six-year-old boy on Sunday, Sept. 7. The animal also tested negative for rabies through the UC Davis California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory.

DNA testing was necessary to confirm the lion dispatched by authorities was indeed the one they sought. Mountain lion saliva samples gathered from the boy’s shirt after the attack were a perfect match to the DNA taken from the lion.

The male cat was 74 pounds, about two years old and healthy.

Established in the 1950s, CDFW’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory uses forensic science procedures to examine and analyze physical evidence of wildlife attacks on humans, as well as evidence seized by wildlife officers in criminal cases.

An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions live in California. Typically they avoid interaction with humans, and attacks like the one that occurred Sunday are very rare. CDFW’s mountain lion policy includes non-lethal and relocation options, but prioritizes public safety in the event of attacks or threats on humans. The policy can be found here. For information about how to stay safe when living or recreating in mountain lion territory, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/lion.html.