Runners on Rogue Valley Trail

Updated: Thursday, February 20.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has located and trapped the mountain lion responsible for injuring a 6-year-old child at Rancho San Antonio Preserve.

Due to the circumstances of the attack, CDFW officials made the determination to euthanize this mountain lion, after DNA taken from the cat was matched to evidence from the attack.

“Mountain lion attacks are rare.” Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Area Superintendent Brad Pennington said. “Fortunately, the child’s injuries were minor. Unfortunately, the behavior exhibited by this mountain lion indicated it was a danger to public safety.”

Rancho San Antonio Preserve will reopen Friday morning. 

CDFW confirmed the mountain lion was a female, weighing between 60-70 pounds and estimated to be between 2-4 years old.

“That’s small for a full-grown lion,” Pennington said, “which can mean she wasn’t thriving. Mountain lions face a lot of challenges. They need large, connected areas of habitat. Our region is divided by roads and development, which puts wildlife closer to people and us closer to the wildlife.”

Midpen works closely with partners like CDFW to minimize conflicts so people and wildlife can live safely together. Some of the ways Midpen helps mountain lions and other wildlife survive and thrive include protecting nearly 65,000 acres of connected open space, supporting wildlife research and through projects like Midpen’s Highway 17 wildlife and trail crossing, which will create a critical wildlife corridor that gives animals room to roam.

Rancho San Antonio is the most popular of Midpen’s 26 open space preserves, drawing an estimated 600,000 visitors a year to the nearly 4,000-acre preserve. “That’s a lot of traffic on 24 miles of trail,” Pennington said. “We get reports of mountain lion sightings at Rancho about once a month and what we’re monitoring for is unusual animal behavior.”

Midpen rangers have placed warning signs reminding visitors of the recent attack, which occurred about 2 miles from the main parking area on a trail called Wildcat Loop and will continue to monitor for unusual wildlife behavior

 “It’s a good opportunity to remind visitors that many of the outdoor places we love are in mountain lion territory and the best way to keep both you and them safe is to look like a threat,” Pennington said.

If you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself large and loud and slowly back away. Do not run and do not turn your back. Visitors should report all mountain lion sightings at Rancho to rangers at 650-691-2165.

To learn more, visit our mountain lion resource page or join Midpen staff for a Coexisting with Cougars event at Hidden Villa on March 12.

For media inquiries, contact Jordan Traverso at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife at 916-654-9937 or jordan.traverso@wildlife.ca.gov.