Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

California man survives mountain lion attack

A California mountain lion.
A California mountain lion.
CaliforniaDFG/ Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

Sometimes it can be easy to forget just how tenuous the line between civilization and nature can be here in California. That line was all but erased for a 63-year-old Marin County man camping in the Sierra Nevada foothills over the weekend when he was attacked by a mountain lion.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the man was in a sleeping bag near the Yuba River when the animal attacked.

"He felt a paw on the side of his head. It woke him out of a deep sleep,” said Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game to the Examiner. “He was startled, and that initiated the ferocious attack.” The man suffered bites and claw marks on his head, hand, arm and back. After somewhere between a minute and a minute and a half, the animal moved about fifteen feet away and stared at the man before running off into the darkness. The man, who has requested anonymity for now, was able to drive himself to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

The Marin Independent Journal is reporting that crews using dogs and motion sensor cameras will continue efforts over the 4th of July weekend to find and put down the cat that mauled the man, facing difficulties finding a fresh scent to follow.

If confronted by a mountain lion, The Department of Fish and Game recommends not running, but to stand tall, wave arms, make noise and throw rocks at the animal (find more mountain lion safety information here).

It’s only the 15th confirmed mountain lion attack in California since 1890, with six of them being fatal.