A DNA test has confirmed that a mountain lion shot and killed by authorities was the same animal that grabbed and bit a 6-year-old boy on Sunday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday.
Fish and game spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre said:
“It was a perfect match. … We are 100 positive that this was the right cat.”
Fish and game officials tested the dead California mountain lion’s DNA against a sample of saliva recovered from the child’s shirt and the sample matched all 14 DNA markers, Macintyre said.
Further testing revealed that the animal was not infected with rabies, meaning that the child will no longer have to undergo the uncomfortable shots to combat the viral disease that were being administered as a precaution, she said.
The department’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducted the DNA tests to determine if the lion, killed by a rifle shot by wildlife officials on Wednesday while it was inside a tree, was the same one that mauled the boy, according to state officials.
The University of California at Davis Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory performed the rabies test and found the animal tested negative for it, Macintyre said.
The lion was healthy, weighed 74 pounds and was about two years old, fish and wildlife officials said. The lion attacked the boy at about 1:15 p.m. Sunday while he was hiking about 10 feet in front of his family at the Picchetti Ranch Zinfandel Trail in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District outside Cupertino, state officials said.
The animal bit the boy’s neck and head and started to drag him away into some brush but let the child go and ran away after two men ran toward it and shouted at the animal, according to wildlife officials.
The child’s family phoned for help and he was later admitted to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with serious puncture wounds and then released in good condition Monday.
About 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions live in California and attacks on humans like the one on Sunday are rare, officials said.