How common are fatal mountain lion attacks in California?
How common are fatal mountain lion attacks in California?

Saturday’s mountain lion attack in El Dorado County is believed to be the first fatal incident of its kind in two decades. So how often do mountain lion attacks happen in California?

[–>

Such incidents are rare, but there have been 22 documented mountain lion attacks involving 24 victims in California since 1986 — including Saturday’s attack — according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

[–>

A person is one thousand times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a mountain lion, which tends to avoid human interaction, according to the fish and wildlife department.

[–>

What we know about Saturday’s mountain lion attack

[–>

On Saturday, “at 1:13 p.m., the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call indicating that two people had been attacked by a mountain lion,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

[–>

One victim, who was identified by authorities as 21-year-old man, was killed. His 18-year-old brother was injured but was expected to survive.

[–>

The attack occurred five miles southeast of Georgetown on Darling Ridge Road near Skid Road not far from Dutch Canyon, according to dispatchers. The area lies within El Dorado National Forest.

[–>

The condition of the victim who survived was not released, but dispatch audio reviewed by The Sacramento Bee said the individual was bitten in the face.

[–>

[–>

Fatal mountain lion attacks in California

[–>

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife defines a mountain lion attack “as an incident resulting in direct physical contact between a human and a mountain lion resulting in physical injury or death to the person,” according to the agency’s website.

[–>

All attacks must be verified by either law enforcement, a physician or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

[–>

Below is a look at California’s past fatal mountain lion attacks since 1986:

[–>

Northern California

[–>

In April 1994, a 40-year-old woman was fatally attacked by a mountain lion in the Auburn State Recreation Area on the border of Placer and El Dorado counties.

[–>

Southern California

[–>

In December 1994, a 56-year-old female was fatally attacked by a mountain lion in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego County.

[–>

Ten years later, in January 2004, a man was fatally attacked by a mountain lion in Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County.

[–>

Nonfatal mountain lion attacks in California

[–>

Most nonfatal mountain lion attacks have occurred in Southern California.

[–>

Since 1986, there have been four nonfatal mountain lion attacks in Northern California and 14 nonfatal attacks in Southern California.

[–>

Below is a look at past nonfatal mountain lion attacks, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

[–>

Northern California

[–>

  • In August 1994, a 48-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman were attacked in a remote area of Mendocino County.
  • In January 2007, a 70-year-old man was attacked in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County.
  • In July 2012, a 63-year-old man was attacked at the confluence of Shady Creek and Yuba River in Nevada County.
  • In May 2022, a 24-year-old woman was attacked in Big Bar in Trinity County.

[–>

Southern California

[–>

  • In March 1986, a mountain lion attacked a 5-year-old girl in Caspers Wilderness Park in Orange County.
  • In October 1986, a 6-year-old boy was attacked in Caspers Wilderness Park in Orange County.
  • In March 1992, a 9-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion, in Gaviota State Park in Santa Barbara County.
  • In September 1993, a a 10-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion, in Cuyamaca State Park in San Diego County.
  • In March 1995, a 27-year-old man was attacked by a mountain lion in Mt. Lowe located in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County.

  • In January 2004, a 30-year-old woman was attacked in Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County.

  • In June 2004, a 28-year-old woman was attacked in the Sequia National Forest in Tulare County.

  • In September 2014, a 6-year-old boy was attacked in Cupertino in Santa Clara County County.

  • In May 2019, a 4-year-old boy was attacked in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego County.

  • In January 2020, a 3-year-old boy was attacked in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County.
  • In June 2020, a 4-year-old boy was attacked in Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in San Diego County.
  • In August 2021, a 5-year-old boy was attacked in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County.
  • In February 2020, a 6-year-old girl was attacked in Rancho San Antonio County Park in Santa Clara County.
  • In September 2022, a 7-year-old boy was attacked in Pico Canyon Park in Los Angeles County.

[–>

Mountain lions are a “specially protected” species in California, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Some 46% of California’s topography is considered a suitable habitat for mountain lions, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation, a nonprofit based in Sacramento. The only non-habitable locations for the cat in the state are in the Central Valley and in most of California’s southeastern deserts.

[–>

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our service journalism team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email [email protected].

Related stories from the Sacramento Bee

Profile image of Jacqueline Pinedo

Jacqueline Pinedo is a reporter on The Bee’s journalism staff. She previously interned at the Los Angeles Times and completed her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *