A mountain lion attacked a 3-year-old boy Monday in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Lake Forest.
The boy suffered neck injuries and cuts, both considered non-life-threatening, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was taken to a hospital and his vital signs were stable. He was released Monday evening, according to Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority.
A family of six were walking in the park about 4:15 p.m., with the young boy leading the way, when he was attacked by the mountain lion, Bommarito said.
The mountain lion grabbed the boy by the neck and only released him when his father threw a backpack at the lion, Bommarito said. The mountain lion then jumped into a tree with the backpack.
The park was evacuated by Orange County sheriff’s deputies, including some in a department helicopter who used a loudspeaker to alert people in the park.
“Due to the threat to public safety, OCSheriff received authorization from the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife to euthanize the mountain lion at approx 5:20 p.m.” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.
The park will remain closed until further notice, Bommarito said.
A 35-year-old cyclist, Mark Reynolds, was killed by a mountain lion in the park in 2004. He was fixing his bike when he was attacked. The cat partially buried Reynolds, then attacked two other people who found Reynolds’ body, The Times reported. That mountain lion was later killed.