CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — A state park in Northern California remained closed Tuesday after a mountain lion attacked a 6-year-old girl while she walked on a trail, officials said.
The girl was at the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve in Cupertino when a mountain lion attacked her Sunday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.
The child was about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the main parking lot when a mountain lion attacked her. Adults who were with her scared the big cat away, the department said. Rangers with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District treated the girl for minor injuries.
The 6-year-old was with her parents in a group of six adults and four children. An adult who was with them rescued her by punching the animal in the ribs.
“Right about when it grabbed ahold of the girl, there was an adult there that pushed the lion away into the bushes, and it ran off,” Brad Pennington, a ranger with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, told KGO. “She has minor injuries, a couple puncture wounds on her calf, and she was treated for minor first aid. Then, her parents took her to the hospital.”
Rangers are trying to find and positively identify the mountain lion and that the park will remain closed until they determined it is safe, officials said.
Mountain lions live throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains region and generally are not a threat to people. Most avoid areas of human activity and are easily scared off by loud noises, the department said.
“Seeing a mountain lion is rare and an encounter like this is very unusual. Visitors to parks and open space should remain vigilant when outdoors in mountain lion territory,” it said.