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Mountain Lion Attacks Young Boy in Rural California

In a rural California County within the Bay Area, A vicious mountain lion attack left a young boy with a stint in the hospital after the attack. The 5-year-old was out and about with family Tuesday night when a mountain lion appeared in San Mateo County and dove at the boy in a malicious and malignant attack. Luckily, Jack sustained no severe injuries. According to his Aunt, the mountain lion was only a juvenile, so it didn’t cause too much harm. 

The night of the attack, the boy and his family were out on a late walk, and he ran ahead of his mother and aunt when they suddenly heard him cry; when they turned the corner, the mountain lion was on him. Luckily, when Jack’s mother raced toward the juvenile, they let the boy go without having him sustain serious injuries, thankfully. 


The first one to land at the scene was the boy's neighbor Chad Conover, whose property was right next to where the attack occurred said that the boy and his family were “...pretty calm when I pulled up; they're my neighbors, so I asked them if they were okay. They were very...they were good. They said everybody was fine, but they had to talk to fish and game. A warden pulled up right as I pulled out,” Mr. Conover and the Ranger sent by Fish and Wildlife both said that mountain lion attacks on people are rare and don’t usually happen unless the lion feels provoked or threatened in some way. 

The most likely scenario is that the boy accidentally wandered into the mountain lions' domain and set them off somehow, either by being in their presence or being an excited kid running along the trail. Luckily, the juvenile lion didn’t cause too much harm to the kid, not even enough to make him inconsolably frightened when the neighbor showed up to check everything out. 


According to Jack’s family, the five-year-old was pretty bruised up, along with lacerations, bruising on the face, a swollen eye, and puncture wounds. The mountain lion had been reportedly chewing on him when the mother approached. 


In terms of his recovery, Jack’s Aunt, Amie Wagner, has set up a GoFundMe page for medical bill help due to the nature of his parent’s income source. According to the description on their GoFundMe page, Jack’s parents run an organic farm mainly dedicated to helping the homeless and underprivileged community of Half Moon Bay feed themselves and their families. They provide food from their farm for disadvantaged students and lost community members from all over the county. 


The page reads, “Now it is their turn to be on the receiving end of the kindness and compassion they normally give. Any donations will be used to cover expenses and hopefully to help keep a smile on Jack's face if there is something special he would enjoy while recovering. Thanks for considering helping!” As of the writing of this article, the GoFundMe page has reached $25,101, which is $15,000 beyond its original goal of $10,000. 


Released from the hospital later that Tuesday Evening, the young boy, all stitched up and ready to tackle his life again, give or take some extra stitching and recovery time, Jack is ready for his road to recovery in his home surrounded by his family. With the generosity from people all over, familial assistance, and business support included, Jack’s parents will be able to take the time from their busy days toiling on the farm to be with their son and focus on making him better and rejuvenating his spirit. Jack is expected to make a quick recovery due to the excellent care of the medical staff, who worked quickly to stitch the boy up.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, mountain lion attacks in California are rare. The website has data that stretches back to a few years before the turn of the century. The data states the year, location, type (fatal/nonfatal), county, and the victims’ age and sex. in March 1986, a five-year-old girl was attacked in Caspers National Park in Orange County. Luckily the attack was nonfatal, and the girl recovered from the attack. That attack started the data for the next 40 years, as of now, the latest injury stated in this article hasn’t made it into this data chart, but the data does hold some curious information: For the last 40 years, out of the 22 victims attacked, only three of the victims were fatally injured by the lions. The department also provides a footnote stating, “According to historical reports, four fatal incidents involving six victims occurred around the turn of the previous century.”  


Furthermore, when asked if mountain lions are dangerous, The Mountain Lion Foundation states, “...To people, not so much. Human encounters with mountain lions are rare, and the risk of an attack is infinitely small. You are more likely to drown in your bathtub, be killed by a pet dog, or hit by lightning. If lions had any natural urge to hunt people, there would be attacks every single day. Instead, they avoid us.” Mountain lions prefer to stay away from humans unless provoked or threatened by a human. 


To a large extent, mountain lions stay away from humans and go about their daily lives avoiding humans and looking out for their own. Jack and other young kids like him could make wild animals nervous and provoke an attack. Data from Fish and Wildlife states many attacks from lions are on young children who may wander too close to a den or a single lion roaming around. Mountain lions generally should be left alone, and worried parents and other individuals should research mountain lion attacks and how to avoid lions in their walks and hikes to mitigate mountain lion assaults. 

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