Girl, 6, survives mountain lion attack when adult punches animal in ribs

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO/CNN) - A 6-year-old girl is recovering from puncture wounds to her leg after she was attacked by a mountain lion while walking in a California park.

The victim was walking on a trail with her parents, three other children and some adults Sunday morning in the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve when a suspected mountain lion leapt at the 6-year-old.

One of the adults punched the mountain lion, believed to be about 160 pounds, in the ribs. The group made loud noises and scared it away.

"Right about when it grabbed ahold of the girl, there was an adult there that pushed the lion away into the bushes, and it ran off," said Brad Pennington, a ranger with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. "She has minor injuries, a couple puncture wounds on her calf, and she was treated for minor first aid. Then, her parents took her to the hospital."

The incident happened on a trail about two miles from the main parking lot.

Park rangers say the preserve was experiencing one of the busiest days of the season, with a parking lot for 300 cars at capacity.

The park is now closed while the California Department of Fish and Wildlife searches for the animal in hopes of preventing another attack. If it is located, Capt. Todd Tognazzini with Fish and Wildlife said they’ll decide what action to take next.

Mountain lion sightings are unusual, and attacks on humans are extremely rare.

Fish and Wildlife officials say those who do encounter a mountain lion should remain calm, make themselves large and loud and slowly back away. Do not turn your back or run.

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