• The woman kept striking and punching lion until it released the child
  • The child sustained critical injuries to his head and torso
  • Officials say the mountain lion was barely 1-year-old and learning to hunt

A mountain lion attacked and dragged a 5-year-old child in California before his mother intervened and fought the feline off.

On Aug. 26, around 10:45 am the boy playing near a tree in his home in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, was attacked by a 65-pound mountain lion. The feline dragged the child about 45 yards. The mother then ran out after hearing the boy scream and fought the feline with her bare hands, rescuing the child.

"She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son," said California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson, Patrick Foy, reported USA TODAY. "The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life."

The boy sustained critical injuries to his head and torso. The parents took him to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles where he is recovering from his injuries. The parents also notified law enforcement about the attack. Wildlife officials visiting the family’s property where the attack occurred found the mountain lion crouching near a bush with its ears back and hissing at them, reported NBC News.

The mountain lion’s behavior was considered “aggressive” and it was later shot at the property for public safety.

"Wildlife Forensics Scientists analyzed samples from underneath the claws of the suspect lion carcass and isolated traces of human tissue and blood with a DNA profile that matched the young victim," said the wildlife department in a statement. "Results were conclusive that it was the attacking lion that was shot by the wildlife officer on scene."

After the lion was shot, two more felines appeared near the property. One of the mountain lions had a radio collar and was a full-grown adult while the second mountain lion was a cub, similar to the one that was shot. Officials used a non-lethal tranquilizer on the uncollared cub to confirm it was not involved in the attack. It was later released back into the wild.

According to experts, the mountain lion was young and barely one year old. It is likely that the young feline was still learning how to hunt for food and attacked the child because of his small size.

Mountain lion Pixabay