Search resumes for mountain lion that attacked boy 

A search team scoured through rugged terrain Monday for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old Northern California boy, officials said.

Hiking trails remained closed as the team including two game wardens, a federal tracker and at least four dogs searched for the lion in humid conditions, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy.

After calling off Sunday's search at dusk, the team spent overnight at the site of the attack hoping the lion would return. Authorities opted for a smaller search crew to increase its probability of tracking down the animal though fresh scents and prints, Foy said.

"We've intentionally minimized the team to eliminate any scent and track contamination in order to find this animal who we believe is a threat to public safety," Foy said. "We will be here for as long as it takes."

If found, authorities intend to kill the lion and test it for rabies, Foy added.

The injured boy spent overnight at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and was released to his parents Monday morning, hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. The boy's name has not been released.

The boy suffered bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck while hiking with his family and others Sunday at the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve near the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino. The boy's father told investigators his son was about 10 feet ahead of the group when a mountain lion "came out of nowhere" and attacked the boy, Foy said.

He said the mountain lion attacked in a manner similar to the way it would a group of deer by targeting the easiest prey, usually the smallest member. The lion dragged the boy into some brush before his father and the other male adult in the hiking group shouted and acted aggressively toward the animal, scaring it away, Foy added.

"That little boy probably would be dead had they not intervened," Foy said.

There have been 13 verified mountain lion attacks in California between 1986 and 2013, three of which resulted in deaths, according to the Fish and Wildfire department.

The trail where the attack occurred is on land owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which buys and protects land in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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