3-year-old child attacked by mountain lion in Southern California

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Authorities killed a mountain lion after it attacked and injured a 3-year-old child at a Southern California park Monday afternoon, Jan. 20, officials said.

The young victim was hospitalized in stable condition following the attack, which was reported just after 4:15 p.m. at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Lake Forest, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito.

The lion grabbed the child by the neck, Bommarito said.

Authorities evacuated the park as they sought the lion, which was seen with a backpack in its mouth.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials were summoned to the scene, and the lion was soon tracked down.

"(Department) of Fish and Wildlife gave local law enforcement the approval to euthanize the lion due to the public safety threat," fire officials said in a written statement.

Aerial footage from KTLA's Sky5 helicopter showed officials standing next to the motionless body of a mountain lion, which was then wrapped in a yellow tarp and placed in the back of a truck.

No further details were immediately available.

Two other mountain lion attacks have been reported at the park, according to state records. Both took place in January 2004. One claimed the life of a 35-year-old man, while the other left a 30-year-old woman injured.

The most recent confirmed attack by a mountain lion on a human took place in May at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego. A 4-year-old child was injured in that attack.