Update: Two mountain lions were killed following an attack on a boy in Bailey on August 21; further testing must be done to confirm which one, if either, was responsible. Learn more in our post "Two Mountain Lions Killed After Attack on Bailey Boy." Continue for our previous coverage.
At this writing, a mountain lion that bit the head of an eight-year-old boy in Bailey last night, August 21, has not been caught. But authorities are continuing their efforts to snare the animal, which has already been marked for euthanizing.
By policy, according to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, any animal that injures a human in an attack "must be put down."
In a tweet, Platte Canyon Fire described the boy's injuries as serious, and he remained hospitalized overnight. Neither the boy's name nor details about his prognosis have been publicly shared to date. In a statement, Mark Lamb, CPW's wildlife manager for the area that encompasses Bailey, says, "We all hope that the child will be all right. You just hate to see this occur."
The attack took place at around 7:30 p.m. on the 21st. The release reveals that the boy was playing on a backyard trampoline with his brother when he heard a neighboring child call out for him. As the boy raced off to join his pal, the mountain lion pounced and went after the boy's head.
"The kid was running, and it probably triggered the lion's natural response to a prey animal running," Lamb speculates.
The boy's brother raced to his house and alerted his father to what was happening. When the father got outside, the mountain lion was still on top of the boy. But as the father approached, the animal released the child and ran away.
Wildlife officers were among those who rushed to the scene after the father called 911, as seen at the outset of this CPW video:
Upon their arrival, officers set up the mountain lion trap pictured at the top of this post and used a team of three dogs in an attempt to pick up the attacking animal's scent. But the dogs were unsuccessful despite searching the area for around two hours.
On the chance the mountain lion might come back to the area, CPW officers stayed at the residence throughout the night. But if it returned, it wasn't spotted.
According to CPW stats, there have been 22 mountain lion attacks on humans in Colorado since 1990, with three of them (in 1991, 1997 and 1999) proving to be fatal. This year, meanwhile, there's been an uptick in such incidents.
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Thus far in 2019, there have been three attacks of this type on people, with the best-known target being trail runner Travis Kauffman, who fought off a mountain lion with his bare hands after it lunged at him outside Fort Collins.
Note that no mountain lion attacks on humans were recorded in either 2017 or 2018, and the last time three occurred in the same year was in 1998.
With the Bailey mountain lion still on the loose, new possible tactics include bringing in another dog team to start a search of the area anew. "Wildlife officers will be making every effort to locate the mountain lion from this attack on Thursday to ensure the safety of the public," the release emphasizes.
The animal is described as being small in size. It's not known whether it is a male or female.