A wild mountain lion has left an 11-year-old girl with severe facial injuries after attacking her as she checked on chickens.
In what has been described as a ‘rare attack’, the beast swatted at the poor girl who spotted one of her family’s hens appeared lifeless.
Wildlife officials in Colorado, US, have since tracked down and euthanised the beast.
After killing the chicken, what Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials described as a ‘small, sub-adult lion’, lunged at the girl and punctured her face.
Quickly arriving at the scene, wildlife officers euthanised the animal and sent the remains for examination to the Wildlife animal health lab in Fort Collins for examination, while the child was sent to Chaffee County Hospital for treatment.
Sean Shepherd, an area wildlife manager based in Salida, Colorado, said: “(It was) probably just looking for an easy meal in the chicken coop.”
He believes that because the animal didn’t opt for a second attack, it was probably just delivering a defensive manoeuvre.
Officials are now conducting tests to check whether the lion may have acted violently due to having contracted rabies or highly pathogenic avian influenza, or another infection.
Shepherd said: “Mountain lion attacks are rare, but we can’t take any chances when any predator makes contact with a human.”
While these sorts of incidents are few and far between, two months ago in Nathrop, Chaffee County, a mountain lion attacked a man who was minding his own business in a hot tub.
Shepherd claimed: “Both of these incidents are highly unusual. I do not believe there is a pattern here.”
However, before this, there hadn’t been any other attacks reported on a human since February 2022.
In total, since 1990, there have been a grand total of 25 mountain lion-on-human attacks, three of which resulted in the victim passing away.
This article by James Sweetnam was first published by The Daily Star on 14 May 2023. Lead Image: The mountain lion attacked the girl in her chicken coop (Image: Getty Images).
What you can do
Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.
Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.