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Search ends for mountain lion that attacked camper

July 10, 2012 |  6:54 pm

After more than a week of hunting for an elusive mountain lion that attacked a camper in his sleeping bag in the Sierra foothills, the state Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday called off the search for the animal.

Teams with specially trained dogs were unable to pick up the scent of the mountain lion after the July 1 attack, the department said in a news release. Searchers had not seen fresh tracks for days and trail cameras yielded no sign of the animal.

The dogs did tree a male mountain lion, but since DNA tests of the camper's shirt revealed his attacker was a female, the team let the male go.

The victim, a 63-year-old Marin County man, stopped for the night near Nevada City on his way to a hiking trip. He was sleeping alone in the open next to Shady Creek when the lion set upon him about 1 a.m., biting through his sleeping bag and cap. After a couple of minutes the lion walked away and the man, who did not wish to be identified, drove himself to a Grass Valley hospital, where he was treated and released.

Had the lion been captured, it would have been killed as a threat to public safety.

Since 1890, there have been 15 confirmed lion attacks in California involving 17 people, six of whom died, including two fatalities in 1909 that were the result of rabies. 


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--Bettina Boxall