A mountain lion attacked a 3-year-old boy at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County on January 20, putting the child in the hospital and leading wildlife animals to equthanize the mountain lion.
The boy and his family were walking through the park, located in Trabuco Canyon about an hour south of LA. At 4:17 pm, the mountain lion attacked the boy, grabbing him by the neck. The father threw a backpack at the mountain lion causing it to release to child. The photo above shows the lion in a tree with the backpack in its mouth.
After the attack, the boy was rushed to the hospital and Orange County Sherrif's officers tracked and killed the lion. The boy was listed in stable condition by the Orange County Fire Authority.
Last May, a mountain lion attacked a 4-year-old boy in Los Rancho Penasquitos Park in San Diego. The boy received minor injuries and the mountain lion was tracked and shot shortly after the incident.
Whiting Ranch Regional Park has been the site of two earlier mountain lion attacks, according to records of California Fish and Wildlife. One attack, in January 2004, resulted in the death of a 35 year-old Mark Reynolds, who had stopped to fix his mountain bike chain. The same lion attacked another bike, Anne Hjelle, 30, when she road near the area where the lion had dragged Reynold's body.
Mountain lion attacks are relatively rare, there have been 15 in california since 1986, resulting in three fatalities. As a point of reference, 28 people were killed by dog attacks in California between 2005 to 2008. Still it's good to be on the lookout when your in the SoCal backcountry, and keep close to children.