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Wildlife officials seek to capture mountain lion that attacked homeless man in Perris

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014
Issue 05, Volume 18.

PERRIS - The apparent mauling of a homeless man by a mountain lion in suburban Perris left him with bites and cuts so severe he won't be able to talk with wildlife authorities about his ordeal for several days, a spokesman said today.

A doctor at Menifee Valley Medical Center told California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials the 50-year-old victim is "pretty bad off" and wouldn't be capable of an interview, said department spokesman Lt. Patrick Foy.

"He was mauled severely, yes," Foy said.

The big cat's attack was at about 8 a.m. Saturday in a homeless camp near Highway 74 at Navaho Road, close to a shopping center west of Interstate 215. That site is brushy vacant lot surrounded by subdivisions and businesses.

The location of the mauling prompted Foy to urge people to take precautions for their kids and pets.

"We are asking nearby residents to be aware there is a lion in the area and to be careful with their pets and children," Foy said in a statement from the fish and wildlife department.

The man suffered puncture wounds and bite marks to the base of the skull, and other injuries Foy described as severe lacerations to his neck, arms and back.

There were no witnesses to the attack, said Dan Sforza, assistant chief with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Dispatchers received a call at 8:10 a.m. from Advertisement
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a resident describing a bloody homeless man, outside the house and asking for help. The victim had managed to walk to the home despite his injuries, Foy said.

Arriving paramedics took the injured man to the Menifee hospital. The man's name was not released, but he underwent surgery Saturday night and his condition was not released, officials said.

Fish and wildlife authorities but they strongly believe a mountain lion attacked him.

The animal was not found when wildlife officials and biologists went to the area where the attack happened. Baited traps have been set up to snare the big cat, and DNA samples were collected from the man's wounds to match with the animal if it is captured, officials said.

If found, the mountain lion will be destroyed "in the interest of public safety," the state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported.

There are no scientific studies about mountain lion populations in the area, Foy said, but Perris is not an area where mountain lion attacks were expected.

If the man's injuries are verified to be the result of a mountain lion attack, it will be the 15th such incident on humans in California since 1986, wildlife officials said.

A mountain lion attack turned fatal at Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County in January 2004, and a 63-year-old man survived a mountain lion attack in July 2012 in Nevada County, wildlife officials reported.



Comment Profile Imageconcerned
Comment #1 | Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm
Leave the mountain lion alone. The animal did what a wild animal does, and the homeless man was not killed.
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
Post Continued
Comment Profile Imageanimal compassion
Comment #2 | Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm
The wild mountain lion was only doing what a wild animal does to survive. Leave our wildlife alone!! The homeless man needs to sleep indoors
Comment Profile Imagebetween
Comment #3 | Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm
Yes, the lions were here first and man is the trespasser. The lion is home. The homeless man needs to find his own home.
Comment Profile ImageThinking Out Loud
Comment #4 | Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm
Not sure how the wild animal can be left alone. I agree, this lion was just doing what is natural for it to do. But to leave it alone might not be the best option to go with. Especially if it returns to the area. Any other individual, homeless or not, could venture into that area, at any time of day, uneducated of the fact there is a lion roaming in the vicinity. There is no gaurantee that individual will not get attacked, or even killed. We want to protect our wildlife, but human life always comes first. Ideally, we'd want to capture the animal and relocate it. I have faith that all the individuals in charge of this situation will come to a sensible, and responsible solution.
Comment Profile Imagethe facts
Comment #5 | Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014 at 2:42 am
Sadly it is protocol that when an animal becomes rouge, it is destroyed. It has lost fear of humans.
Comment Profile ImageJoe
Comment #6 | Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Gosh some people are ignorant to the fullest! Be ashamed of yourself SMH!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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