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Woman rescues 5-year-old son from mountain lion’s jaws

ASPEN, Colo. » Summoned by the sound of screams, a Colorado woman raced to her front yard to find a terrifying sight: A mountain lion was hunched over her 5-year-old son, biting him.

The woman charged the animal, yanked away one of its paws and discovered her son’s whole head was in its mouth. She didn’t back down.

“She was able to pry the cat’s jaws open,” Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Buglione said. “She’s a hero.”

The boy suffered deep cuts to his head, face and neck and was flown to a Denver hospital. His mother, who also was scratched and bitten, is credited with saving his life.

The ordeal started Friday evening when the 5-year-old and his older brother were playing outside their home near the resort town of Aspen, Buglione said.

When the woman ran outside, she found the lion crouched over her younger son, who was struggling to get free.

“The boy was completely under the cat,” Buglione told The Aspen Times.

The mother pried open the lion’s mouth with her hands, scooped up the child and ran away, the deputy said.

The boy’s father had just returned from a run when the attack occurred. He jumped in the car with his wife and son and called 911 as they sped to the Aspen hospital.

From there, the child was flown to Children’s Hospital in Denver in fair condition. On Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman told the Times she was not authorized to release any details on his condition.

The mother suffered bite marks on her hand and scratches on her leg, authorities said. She was treated and released. The family members’ names were not released.

The mountain lion was estimated to be about 2 years old and not fully grown.

“It wasn’t a big cat,” Buglione said. “Had it been a 110-pound lion – which I’ve seen around here – this would have been a much different story.”

Wildlife officials killed two mountain lions in the area within several hours of the attack. Both were being examined to determine if they were hungry, diseased or just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Colorado is home to up to 4,500 mountain lions, and they sometimes wander into urban areas looking for food, according to state wildlife officials. Since 1990, mountain lions have killed three people and injured 18 in the state.

“They’re wild animals. They find habitat where they can forage for food,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Matt Robbins said. “When you have bunnies, you’re likely to find foxes or coyotes. If you have deer, there is a good chance you’ll find mountain lions.”

The last known lion attack on a human in Colorado occurred in July 2015, wildlife officials said. A young lion attacked a man as he fished north of Dotsero, about 60 miles from where Friday’s attack occurred. The man suffered scratches and bites on his back and was treated at a local clinic and released.

The lion in that incident, described as a small, yearling male, was tracked and killed.

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    • A mother will fight to the death for her child. Look at the mother in Orlando who jump in front of her son to shield him from the shooter. She paid the ultimate price for her son. You could bet she would do it again and so with this mother. It’s what we do.

  • As we invade their habitat by building our homes, it is only natural for these attack occurs. Sadly we are the intruders, yet the animals have to be sacrificed?

        • FYI: Mountain lion habitat includes good sized chunks of LA. Maybe they should just shut that city down, right? Same thing with towns like Bolder, Colorado where a few years back a teen ager was killed while out for a run. Shut ‘er down? Fine by me, Bolder being a fount of thinking like that of Cojef.

    • Yearling males will travel long distances to find new territory. Not uncommon for them to move through developed areas, but they usually shy from peoplea unless starved, and can learn to be less fearfull of humans.

    • Well, there just had to be one of these responses, didn’t there. Meaning, it’s our fault for being human and existing.

      And the logic, more of goofy self-hating moral relativism, human life no more valuable than animal. How about you apply that to your own family and see how it fits.

      And finally, the “we invade their habitat” lunacy. Just tell me who defined the Colorado mountains as NOT being the habitat of human beings as well. At the risk of committing a micro aggression and offending delicate progressive urban sensitivities, the lady lived in a region with large predators and should have saved her son with a pistol or rifle. Really $tupid to live amongst lions and not own a firearm.

      • Predators in nature come and go. Territories are conquered and wild life shifts to adapt. It’s happened this way for centuries. So humans have cut out areas where we dominate and life goes on….but not for the mountain lion in these areas.

    • Oh, exactly. Good point. And sharks were first in the ocean, so human interlopers should just stay the h#ll out of it, after all who or whatever created us intended for us to live in high rises and never leave the confines of a concrete urban environment, right?

      Let’s see. How else could we apply you and aomohoa’s logic? Birds first in air–no air travel. Moles first underground–no basements. Fish, water- well we already did that one.

      And finally, when some predator doesn’t get the word about staying our of our human habitat and “eats” one of your kids, you should just say, hey, that the natural cycle of life, like that song By Elton John in that Disney movie the Lion King.

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