A woman in California has been hailed a hero after she used her bare hands to fend off a mountain lion that attacked her five-year-old son and dragged him along his front lawn.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the young boy was playing by a tree house near his home, west of Los Angeles when the huge mountain lion lunged at him.
Protective instincts swiftly set in as his mother heard his screams and rushed to his rescue.
"She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son," Department spokesman Patrick Foy told the Associated Press.
"The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life."
The parents immediately drove the boy to the hospital, where law enforcement were notified of the attack.
Mr Foy told CBSLA the boy suffered traumatic injuries to his head and torso.
Mountain lion killed after attacking child
Authorities have confirmed the mountain lion has been shot and killed by a wildlife officer.
The officer was sent to the scene shortly after the attack, arriving to find the mountain lion crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at him.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on site,” the wildlife department said in a statement Saturday.
Subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the lion was the one responsible for attacking the child, the statement said.
Another mountain lion spotted in the area was tranquilised and then released into the wild unharmed after being tested to be sure it was not involved in the attack.
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