A nature preserve in Cupertino closed Sunday morning after a suspected mountain lion injured a child walking on a hiking trail approximately two miles from the main parking area.
A Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District ranger responded to the incident at Rancho San Antonio Park around 10 a.m., according to a statement from park officials.
The animal was reportedly scared away by the adults accompanying the child, who sustained minor wounds. The child was treated at the scene and released to parental care.
Calling the incident “very unusual,” park officials said California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating the encounter and “will attempt to locate and positively identify the animal.” It’s the third time the well-trekked South Bay preserve has closed in the past year due to an apparent surge in typically rare mountain lion sightings.
Trails closed last August after there were numerous sightings of a mother mountain lion with her three cubs. By Labor Day weekend, officials monitoring the area told the Mercury News the lions had “retreated” to less-populated areas of the preserve and deemed it safe to reopen. Park officials advised the public to “remain vigilant” while outdoors, and to “remain calm, make yourself large and loud and slowly back away” if coming in contact with a mountain lion.
Sightings should be reported to park rangers at 650-691-2165.
Rancho San Antonio Park will welcome visitors again once the current investigation has concluded and officials determine it is safe to do so.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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