By Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2020

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) - California wildlife authorities have euthanized a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old girl who had been hiking with her parents.

The Mercury News of San Jose, California reported Thursday that the female cat, between 2 and 4 years old, was found in a tree in the area Wednesday afternoon. Rangers sedated the cat and extracted DNA to confirm it was the same animal that had scratched and bit the child Sunday.

The cat weighed between about 70 pounds (32 kilograms).

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife “is actively engaged in mountain lion conservation across the state. However, public safety is our top priority,” officials said in a statement. “We made the decision to euthanize the lion because it was confirmed to have attacked a human.”

The child was attacked while walking with a group at the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve in Cupertino, a Silicon Valley city about 46 miles (74 kilometers) south of San Francisco. An adult who was with the group rescued the girl by punching the animal in the ribs.

Sunday’s attack was the second in California in two months; the first occurred in Orange County in Southern California in January. Both incidents were not fatal.

The chances of being attacked by a mountain lion are low, wildlife officials say. Mountain lions are nocturnal and generally avoid humans.

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