A family hike on the weekend turned into a nightmare when a six-year-old girl was attacked by a mountain lion in California in the US.
Thankfully she was able to escape, albeit with minor injuries, thanks to the quick reactions of an adult who punched the animal.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said rangers are currently “investigating the incident and attempting to locate and positively identify the mountain lion”.
In the meantime, the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve, where the incident occurred, is closed until further notice.
Speaking to ABC affiliate radio station KGO, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District ranger Brad Pennington confirmed that the victim was walking with her parents, four other adults and four children when the attack happened.
Pennington said the mountain lion came darting out of the bushes to attack the girl, who was eventually saved by one of the adults after they fearlessly punched the animal in the ribs.
“It came out of the bushes and right about when it grabbed a hold of the girl an adult pushed the mountain lion and it ran off,” Pennington told KGO, adding that the child’s injuries included “a couple [of] puncture wounds to her calf”.
“She was also treated by a ranger for minor first aid and then her parents took her to the hospital,” Pennington told the outlet.
A Midpeninsula Regional Open Space spokesperson said mountain lions typically don’t attack humans.
“Mountain lions?live throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains region and generally are not a threat to people,” the spokesperson explained. “Most avoid areas of human activity and are easily scared off by loud noises. Seeing a mountain lion is rare and an encounter like this is very unusual.”
Sources: People.com, Instagram