Young Boy Attacked by a Mountain Lion West of Boulder

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A seven-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday at Artist's Point on Flagstaff Mountain, just west of the Boulder city limits.

The boy was walking hand in hand with his father at the end of a group of six other family members and friends. The attack took place on a trail 30 yards away from the parking lot to the popular scenic overlook. The lion bit the boy in the head and jaw area and also injured the boy's legs, most likely with its hind paws. The family took the correct action in this very rare type of incident by aggressively fighting the lion with sticks and rocks in an effort to get the lion to release the boy. The boy was taken to the Boulder County Hospital and later transferred to Denver Children's hospital. The injuries to the child are not considered life threatening.

The DOW officers on scene worked with a houndsman to track the lion with trained dogs. The lion was treed approximately a half mile away from the location where the attack took place. The lion was killed by a DOW officer just after midnight. Due to the proximity of the location of the attack and mountain lion behavior, the DOW officers are confident that this was the lion involved in the attack.

"When an attack such as this occurs, the DOW makes every effort to remove the animal involved," said Tyler Baskfield, public information specialist with the DOW. "This type of incident is extremely rare, even in this particular area which is considered prime mountain lion habitat and very popular with outdoor recreationists. While such a removal is a very unpleasant task for wildlife officials, due to this lion's behavior it was killed to prevent anyone else from being injured."

The female lion will undergo a necropsy later this week to determine if there was any type of injury or disease that would have contributed to its aggressive behavior.

Several nearby residents were alerted to the situation by DOW personnel shortly after the attack. The area was also closed to recreation until after the lion was killed.

There are approximately 5,000 mountain lions in Colorado. There have been two confirmed fatal attacks on humans recorded in the state in the past two decades.

The DOW recommends people take a few simple precautions when in mountain lion habitat in an effort to keep both people and wildlife safe.

* When venturing into mountain lion habitat, go in groups and make plenty of noise in an effort to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. Make sure children are close to and under the supervision of adults. Teach children about mountain lions and what to do if they see one.

Do not approach lions. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give the lion a way to escape.

* Stay calm if you come upon a lion. Talk to it in a firm voice in an effort to demonstrate that you are human and not its regular prey.

* Back away slowly. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack.

* Face the lion and make an effort to appear as large as possible. Open your jacket or lift objects to appear like a more formidable opponent. Pick up your children.

* If the lion behaves aggressively, throw rocks, sticks or whatever you can pick up, with out turning your back to the lion or bending down.

* If the lion would happen to attack, fight back. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. Remain standing and keep attempting to get back up if you are brought to the ground.

For more information about the Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.