Mountain lion attacks child on hiking trail near winery in Cupertino

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KGO) -- Authorities are searching for a mountain lion in Cupertino that sent a 6-year-old boy to the hospital Sunday afternoon.

It happened on a hiking trail in the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve near the historic Picchetti Winery around 1:00 p.m. After the attack the boy was taken to the winery where paramedics arrived.

The boy was hiking with his parents on a trail about a mile from the winery. He was about 15 feet ahead when the mountain lion grabbed him. The boy's father and another man ran at the mountain lion, shouting and chased it away.

The boy's family was with another family so, the mountain lion attacked with 10 people around.

He suffered bite marks to his head and shoulders.

The boy is being treated at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose where he was in serious condition and later upgraded to fair condition. The child suffered injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, but officials say he will most likely be kept at the hospital overnight.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are working with park rangers to find the animal.

Rangers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say his mom and dad fought off the cougar.

"The cat did make contact with the boy, did end up taking him into a brushy area and his parents did fight the animal off and the boy's in the hospital right now," Warden Travis Jarrett said.

Officials are searching the Picchetti Open Space Preserve and part of Stevens Creek County Park. Hiking trails in those areas are closed to the public.

Capt. Don Kelly with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says they will euthanize the mountain lion when they find it.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials will test the boy's clothes for DNA to make sure they find the right mountain lion.

There are signs in front of the trail that do caution hikers that the area is mountain lion habitat.

The winery is still opened, but people in the area are being asked to be on alert because the animal is still out there.

Anyone who encounters a mountain lion is advised to not run away but confront the cat by making noises, throwing objects and trying to appear larger.

More information on mountain lions is available online by visiting www.keepmewild.org.

Unless the mountain lion is found, crews assisted with trained dogs from the department will continue their search on Monday.

Elissa Harrington and Leslie Brinkley contributed to this report.














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