By TERRY COLLINS | Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wildlife crews in Northern California added an extra live trap in their ongoing search to catch a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy.
Biologists set a fourth live trap with roadkill carcasses as bait to go along with three others set Monday to help increase the chances of capturing the cougar, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre.
The cat is believed to be male, Macintyre said.
“We think it is a sub-adult, a little bit older than a juvenile or not full grown. That's based on eyewitnesses and on paw prints,” she said.
Hiking trails remained closed as two search teams and seven tracking dogs continued to scour the rugged terrain for the big cat for a third straight day. While the cat has not reappeared since Sunday, crews stepped up efforts Tuesday after they discovered some lion tracks Monday estimated to be about a day old, Macintyre said.
The search has been difficult at times because a number of tracks crisscross in certain spots, she added.
“That's the nature of the beast, so to speak,” Macintyre said. “The dogs still have the scent of the cat. If they had lost the scent, they would have come in by now.”
If found, authorities intend to kill the lion and test it for rabies.
The attack occurred about 1 p.m., which is unusual, Macintyre said.
Cougars usually prefer to hunt and travel at dusk or dawn.
“This cat is not behaving like a normal cat,” Macintyre said.
The boy was released from the hospital Monday, a day after suffering bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck while hiking with his family and others near the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino. His name has not been released.
Before Sunday, the most recent mountain lion attack in California was two years ago in Nevada County. A six-day search failed to turn up a lion, Macintyre said.
However, there is no timetable on this latest search, she added.