Necropsy reveals suspect lion OK: The cat believed to have injured a 7-year-old boy shows no ailment or evidence of the attack

The Denver Post

By John Ingold

The necropsy results of a female mountain lion believed to have attacked and seriously injured a young boy a week and a half ago near Boulder showed nothing wrong with the cat.

In fact, the necropsy could not even find physical evidence to prove that the 5-year-old mountain lion, killed six hours after the attack, was the culprit. Technicians with the Wyoming Game and Fish Forensic Lab found no traces of human blood on the cougar’s fur or whiskers.

Still, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Bask- field said DOW officials are confident they got the right animal.

“There are a number of different scenarios why the boy’s blood wasn’t found on the cat,” Baskfield said. “Obviously, six hours passed between when the cat was shot and the boy was attacked. It’s still very probable that this was the cat.”

Dogs tracking the mountain lion found the scent within 30 yards of the attack site, on Flagstaff Mountain. They also found no other lion tracks in the area. The mountain lion was eventually found a half mile from the attack site, treed and shot.

Baskfield said that, with the size of a mountain lion’s range, it is unlikely two cats would be in the same area at the same time.

The necropsy found the lion had no illnesses or injuries.

David Baron, author of the mountain lion book “The Beast in the Garden,” said he isn’t surprised by the results.

“The first reaction whenever a mountain lion attacks somebody is to assume that there must be something wrong with a cat,” he said. “The experience of the last 15 years has been that they are perfectly healthy lions.”

Wendy Keefover-Ring, director of the carnivore protection program at Sinapu, a Boulder-based wildlife-advocacy group, said most attacks are by young mountain lions, making this one unusual.

The 7-year-old victim was visiting with his family from Maryland. He was released from The Children’s Hospital recently, although his family has disclosed little about his condition. Efforts to reach the family Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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