Calif. Boy, 5, Survives Attack by Mountain Lion: 'His Spirit Is Intact'
A 5-year-old is alive after a terrifying encounter with a mountain lion in San Mateo, California.
The boy identified by family as Jack was saved after he and his mom fought off the animal, but he was left with some battle wounds, according to a GoFundMe posted by his aunt Amie Wagner.
"That mountain lion picked the wrong kid and mama to mess with," Wagner wrote.
Jack has lacerations on his face and a fracture near his eye, in addition to cuts, bruises and scratches.
However, "his spirit remains intact," Wagner said.
"He is the most courageous, adventurous little guy I have ever met and I am not surprised that if there was a kid who could wrestle a mountain lion and come out on top, it would be Jack," the GoFundMe states.
Wagner is hoping to raise $10,000 to cover Jack's medical costs.
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Jack was walking near the family's farm in Half Moon Bay, California when the mountain lion pounced on him on Tuesday, according to the fundraiser.
"They are a hard-working, amazing family, dedicating their life's work to running a program for the area's homeless population on the farm, in addition to a program that serves underprivileged students," the donation page states.
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The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook Tuesday that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was investigating the mauling of a child in unincorporated San Mateo County, which is in the Bay Area.
The attack happened in the 100 block of Tunitas Creek Road just before 7 P.M., the law enforcement agency told Fox 9 News.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now investigating the case and hopes to find the large cat responsible for the attack, Capt. Patrick Foy told PEOPLE.
"I'm just very glad that little boy is going to be okay," Foy said.
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Wildlife investigators plan to gather DNA evidence from Jack's wounds and clothing in hopes of finding the mountain lion to compare it to.
Foy said his agency will go into the area where the attack took place and try to track mountain lions. If any are caught and their DNA is a match to the feline who attacked, it'll be removed, he said.
The injuries were not life-threatening, but they were certainly traumatic, he said.
The probability of being attacked by a mountain lion is low, Foy said, but if you see one, stand tall and shout aggressively. Carrying a whistle can also help scare away an animal, Foy said.
"If attacked, fight back as if your life depended on it," Foy said, adding that the family "did everything right."
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The Bay Area Puma Project, an advocacy group that educates Bay Area residents on how to live alongside the large cats, told Fox 9 the mountain lion was likely one of two cubs who has been roaming the area with their mother.
Wagner told KTVU that Jack ran ahead of his mom and grandfather and that's when the mountain lion latched onto his face.
Foy said there have been 21 mountain lion attacks in California since 1986, 10 of those have been on children.
"Unfortunately these mountain lions tend to target the smallest in the group," he said. "We are just so thankful this little guy made it."