Authorities Search for Cougar After Attack on 7-Year-Old

Boy was bitten in southern California park
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2022 4:40 AM CDT
Mountain Lion Attacks Boy in California Park
This photo released by the National Park Service shows an adult female mountain lion in another part of California.   (National Park Service via AP)

A park in southern California has been closed until further notice as authorities search for a mountain lion that attacked a 7-year-old boy. The boy, Knightley Quintos, is being treated for possible rabies exposure after the rare attack on Monday, KTLA reports. Authorities say the "aggressive" cougar pounced on Knightley as the boy visited Pico Canyon Park near Santa Clarita with his father Monday evening. Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Knightley was walking up some stairs just after sunset when the animal approached from behind and bit him on the buttocks, ABC7 reports

The boy's father heard him scream and managed to scare the animal off. Knightley was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. "It was a pretty traumatic episode for him, but he's expected to be fine," Foy said. DNA samples taken from the boy's clothes and injuries confirmed that he had been attacked by a mountain lion, per KTLA. The father said the animal didn't appear to be wearing a GPS collar from the National Park Service, which tracks big cats in southern California, the AP reports.

Foy said wildlife officers are searching the area and a trap has been set with a deer carcass as bait. He said that if the mountain lion is captured and DNA confirms it was the attacker, it will probably be euthanized. "Everything we do in every part of our mission is to better help wildlife and people coexist," he said. "Having a situation like this where wild animals start attacking, especially small children, that's a super difficult part of our job." Foy noted that cougar attacks in California are rare, with only 20 confirmed attacks on humans over the last 110 years. (More mountain lion stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.