A mountain lion believed to have attacked a 6-year-old boy during an afternoon hike on Sunday near Cupertino was shot and killed late Wednesday.
Based on the animal's aggressive behavior and location — only 130 yards from site of the attack — California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials think they found the right male mountain lion, but are waiting on a full DNA analysis to confirm, the San Jose Mercury News reports. ABC7 says those tests results could come in as early as Friday.
The search for the cougar started immediately after the attack with officials leaving traps around Picchetti Ranch Zinfandel Trail, hoping to catch the animal alive and tranquilize it. By Wednesday morning, search dogs had sniffed out fresh tracks, followed them, and found and chased the mountain lion up a tree.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy tells the Merc that the 65-pound mountain lion appeared ready to pounce a wildlife officer from high up in the tree, crouching down and looking into his eyes. That was when officials made the quick decision to shoot the animal with a rifle, fearing they might miss their chance to capture the cat, Foy said.
The carcass is headed to Sacramento where a wildlife center will administer all tests, including rabies and checking to see if the mountain lion's DNA matches what was found on the boy's clothes.
Hiking trails in the Picchetti Open Space Preserve remain closed, but they should reopen in the next few days.