This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Mountain Lion Killed In Orange County After It Stalked A Family
A young mountain lion was killed by officials Sunday afternoon after it stalked a mother and her children on a hiking trail in Orange County. Madison Smith and her two children were on the Borrego Trail in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park when they encountered the animal. They were able to escape unharmed and called 911.
The mountain lion approached the family close enough that it would've been able to make a meal of one of the kids, but a nearby hiker held the creature off by throwing rocks and shouting. Later, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden found the mountain lion nearby and killed it because of its aggressive behavior, reports the Orange County Register.
The animal is described as a 12-month-old, 60-pound male. Its aggressive behavior was found to be unusual:
Officials will examine whether the mountain lion had a disease that may have prompted its aggression, said UC Davis Wildlife Health Center Associate Veterinarian Winston Vickers, the lead veterinarian on the Southern California Puma Project, which tracks the behaviors and habitats of mountain lions. Normally, we would not have expected the animal to have yet left its mother, so it does make one wonder if there was an issue there that could have led the animal to behave abnormally,” Vickers said. “But we do not know that.”
The Department of Fish and Game has advice if you do encounter a mountain lion: do not approach it but don't run either. Face the animal, make a lot of noise and wave your arms to look big. Throw rocks or any objects you can find at it. If you've got a small child, pick it up. And if you are attacked, fight back.