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Search in Sierra Nevada continues after mountain lion attack

July 2, 2012 |  3:02 pm

A tracking team with dogs continued scouring the Sierra Nevada foothills near Nevada City on Monday for a mountain lion that attacked a sleeping hiker over the weekend.

The 63-year-old victim, who is from the Bay Area, was treated and released from a Grass Valley hospital.

He told state Fish and Game wardens that he was on his way to a hiking trip when he decided to spend the night in a spot he knew next to a tributary of the Yuba River. He was in his sleeping bag, but not a tent, when he was awakened about 1 a.m. Sunday by the lion's attack.

The animal bit the man's head and scratched his back for more than a minute before relenting, the man said. It then walked about 15 feet away, paused to stare back at the victim and then disappeared into the night.

California Department of Fish and Game Warden Patrick Foy said a tracking team with dogs was unable to pick up the lion's scent Sunday but was continuing the search Monday. If found, the lion, thought to be of medium size, will be killed "in the interest of public safety," he said.

The incident is the 15th confirmed mountain lion attack in the state since 1890.

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-- Bettina Boxall

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