Triplicate Staff

Juvenile animal found and killed

An off-duty Redwood National and State Parks ranger was attacked by a mountain lion on Crescent Beach on Thursday night, parks officials say.

In a description of the events provided by the parks, the ranger was fishing on the beach accompanied by his dog. At approximately 7:30 p.m., the ranger witnessed his dog being chased by an animal that he quickly identified as a mountain lion.

The ranger yelled at the lion as the animal approached him. The lion attacked the ranger, who responded by striking it with his fishing pole and kicking it several times.

The lion swiped at the ranger at least once, tearing his jeans, but didn't cause any bodily injury. The lion eventually ran off. Both the park ranger and his dog were unhurt.

The ranger contacted California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and National Park rangers, who immediately responded to the scene.

Enderts Beach Road and the Nickel Creek Campground were cleared during the search for the mountain lion. Both have been re-opened to the public today.

The lion was spotted hiding in driftwood near the location of the original attack around 9 p.m. and was killed by Fish and Wildlife officers around 9:15 p.m.

The attacking animal was a sub-adult, which is classified as a younger, not fully grown animal that is no longer dependent on its mother.

The lion carcass has been sent to the California Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Sacramento for further analysis. More details on the age, gender, size and condition of the animal will be released after further analysis.

Mountain lion sightings in Redwood National and State Parks are regularly reported by visitors and employees, but attacks on humans are extremely rare on the North Coast, a parks' press release says.

The only other reported mountain lion attack in the parks occurred in January 2007, according to Redwood NSP.

"In this particular incident, the individual who was attacked responded swiftly and appropriately by not running away from the attacking mountain lion and fighting back aggressively, striking the animal with his fishing poles and kicking the animal until the mountain lion retreated," a parks press release says.