mountain lion in tree with backpack

CDFW Confirms Mountain Lion Attack in Southern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed testing on the carcass of a mountain lion killed at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County on Jan. 20, and has determined that the animal was the same one that injured a small child earlier that day.

On Monday, Jan. 20, in the late afternoon, officers responded to the park following reports of a three-year-old boy being attacked and injured by a mountain lion. After the animal reportedly grabbed the child by the neck, the boy’s father charged at it while shouting. The lion released the boy and assumed an aggressive posture. The father then threw a backpack at the animal. The lion then climbed a nearby tree, carrying the backpack in its mouth.

Before wildlife officers could reach the park, Orange County sheriff’s personnel and Orange County park rangers located the lion thought responsible for the attack. After consultation with CDFW, a sheriff’s deputy then killed the animal, since it was a clear threat to public safety.

The mountain lion was taken to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for DNA testing. After comparing DNA on the victim’s clothing to DNA taken from the animal carcass, wildlife forensic specialists confirmed the young 55 pound female lion killed in the park is the same lion that was involved in the attack.

A news conference was held Tuesday afternoon, at which the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Parks and CDFW were present. CDFW Captain Patrick Foy praised the father of the young victim for how he responded in protecting his son. The boy was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and was able to return home the same day.

Foy said CDFW estimates there are between four and six thousand mountain lions in California. Typically, lions avoid contact with humans, and attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, when a lion attack is confirmed, public safety becomes the top priority.

“Under some extremely rare and unfortunate circumstances, it sometimes becomes necessary to take a dangerous animal like this,” Foy said.

More than half of California is considered mountain lion habitat. For more information on how to better coexist with mountain lions and other wildlife, please visit keepmewild.org.

Media Contacts: 
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

fire damage at ecological reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Closed Due to Fire

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the immediate closure of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Riverside County as a result of the Tenaja Incident (fire). Although the fire was largely under control as of Friday, Sept. 13, CDFW staff has closed the reserve to public access in order to perform repairs to critical infrastructure and allow firefighters to completely extinguish parts of the property that may still be smoldering.

The 7,500-acre reserve will be closed to all public access and activities, including biking, hiking and equestrian use, until further notice.

 

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Media Contacts:
Richard Kim, CDFW Inland Deserts Region, (760) 922-6783
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Confirms Mountain Lion Responsible for San Diego Attack

Wildlife officers and forensics scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have concluded their investigation of the mountain lion attack at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego County. A complete mountain lion genetic profile was obtained from the samples collected from the young boy who was attacked on Memorial Day, which was found to be identical to the profile obtained from the mountain lion killed the day of the incident. This DNA analysis conclusively proves the mountain lion is the exact one that attacked the victim.

On Monday, May 27, in the afternoon, wildlife officers responded to the park where the 4-year-old boy was being treated by San Diego Fire-Rescue after sustaining a non-life-threatening injury consistent with a mountain lion attack. The boy was part of a group of 11 people recreating in the park at the time.

The wildlife officers identified mountain lion tracks at the scene. Very shortly thereafter and in the same area, a mountain lion approached the officers. The lion appeared to have little fear of humans, which is abnormal behavior for a mountain lion. The wildlife officers immediately killed the animal to ensure public safety and to collect forensic evidence to potentially match the mountain lion to the victim. The officers collected clothing and other samples from the boy. Those samples, plus scrapings from underneath the mountain lion’s claws, were sent to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for DNA analysis.

CDFW emphasizes that despite this incident, the probability of being attacked by a mountain lion is very low. The last confirmed lion attack in California (which was also non-fatal) occurred in 2014. For more information on how to co-exist with mountain lions and other wildlife in California, and what to do if confronted by a threatening wild animal, go to the CDFW Keep Me Wild webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692
Lt. Scott Bringman, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (858) 864-2520

CDFW Wildlife Officers Investigating Suspected Mountain Lion Attack

Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating a suspected mountain lion attack at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego County. On Monday, May 27, in the afternoon, wildlife officers responded to the park where a 4-year-old boy was treated by San Diego Fire-Rescue after sustaining a non-life threatening injury consistent with a mountain lion attack. The boy was part of a group of 11 people recreating in the park at the time. The details of how the suspected attack occurred are not yet available.

While the wildlife officers were conducting their investigation at the scene, they identified mountain lion tracks. Very shortly thereafter and in the same area, a mountain lion approached the officers. The lion appeared to have little fear of humans, which is abnormal behavior for a mountain lion. The wildlife officers immediately dispatched the animal to ensure public safety. The wildlife officers collected clothing and other samples from the boy. Those samples, plus the carcass, are en route to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for a necropsy and DNA analysis. CDFW wildlife forensics specialists will attempt to confirm that this animal was responsible for the attack.

The Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is part of the city of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. CDFW Lt. Scott Bringman will be available to discuss the investigation with the media at 11 a.m. at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve near the intersection of Black Mountain Road and Mercy Road.

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overflowing trash receptacle

California Black Bears are Back in Action: Stash Food and Trash

California’s black bears are waking up hungry from their winter downtime. To help minimize unwanted bear foraging behavior, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding those living in or visiting bear country to store food and dispose of garbage properly.

Black bears typically prefer remote mountainous areas. However, as more people frequent or live in natural bear habitat, the abundance of food and garbage associated with human activities is a temptation hungry bears find hard to resist.

“Over the years, we have seen bear behavior change significantly in areas where more people live and recreate in bear habitat,” said Vicky Monroe, CDFW’s Conflict Programs Coordinator. “Beginning with spring and into late fall, we receive a steady stream of calls from the public reporting anything from bears breaking into cabins and tents to bears stealing food off picnic tables.”

Black bears, like other bear species, have a highly specialized sense of smell, which can sometimes lead them to towns and recreation areas where they may quickly find an overflowing garbage can or someone’s leftover hamburger and French fries.

The public can help bears stay out of human settlements and stick to their natural diet by properly disposing of leftover food and garbage. Additional suggestions include:

  • Residents and vacationers should remove any food attractants from around their home or rental. Pet food, barbecue grills and bird feeders are also attractants. Store trash in bear-resistant storage sheds until trash pickup day.
  • Use sensory deterrents (such as ammonia), electric mats and bear-resistant fencing to exclude hungry and curious bears from gaining access to attractants.
  • Visitors to towns and tourist areas should not pile trash in a trash can or bin that is already overflowing – take trash to a proper receptacle or another location if necessary.
  • Keep campsites and other recreation areas clean. Use bear-resistant coolers and store all food in bear lockers.
  • Never feed wildlife.

Additional information can be found on CDFW’s website, including tips on how to keep California black bears wild, information about bear proof containers and information about black bear biology.

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Media Contacts:
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933
Victoria Monroe, CDFW Human-Wildlife Conflict Program, (916) 856-8335