A mountain lion that brutally attacked a 5-year-old boy who was hiking in California with his family will not be removed from the wild, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The boy, who was identified by a relative as only Jack, could have succumbed to his injuries had his mother not carried him to safety following the harrowing attack Tuesday night.
DNA testing of the animal confirmed that it was the same mountain lion responsible for the boy’s trauma, the Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a tweet.
The department said it has repeatedly been denied access to private properties where the animal is believed to be, forcing them to conclude their investigation into the attack.
“Since the day of the attack, CDFW and allied agency personnel have been denied access to the primary private property and adjacent private properties for the purpose of attempting to capture the offending mountain lion,” the department said.
“This lack of access, combined with worsening weather and the nomadic nature of mountain lions has diminished the chances for a successful capture of the offending mountain lion.”
Jack was walking with his mother and grandfather not far from their family’s farm on the day of the attack. The young boy ran ahead when the mountain lion pounced on him, pinning him to the ground, according to officials.
Jack’s mother charged at the animal, believed to be a cub, ultimately scaring it off.
The boy was taken to a trauma center where he was treated for puncture wounds and other injuries.
“Jack has many lacerations, especially on his precious face, in addition to a fracture near one eye,” his aunt, Amie Wagner, wrote on a GoFundMe page for help with Jack’s medical expenses. “He is covered in cuts, bruises and scratches but his spirit remains intact.”
“I am not surprised that if there was a kid who could wrestle a mountain lion and come out on top, it would be Jack,” she noted.
Jack was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare. In the state of California, there have only been about 20 confirmed attacks in over a century, according to the Department of Fire and Wildlife.