Sacramento lab IDs mountain lion in attack on Bay area boy

A state laboratory in Sacramento has positively identified a mountain lion killed by wildlife officials as the same animal that recently attacked a young boy in Santa Clara County.

The announcement was made Friday by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The department’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Natomas matched saliva samples taken from the boy’s shirt with DNA from the mountain lion, which was killed on Wednesday.

The wild cat - a healthy, 2-year-old male weighing 74 pounds - also tested negative for rabies through the UC Davis Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, wildlife officials said.

The animal was hunted by state game wardens following an attack Sunday on a 6-year-old boy who was hiking with two families on the Zinfandel Trail in the Picchetti Ranch area of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The boy was walking 10 feet ahead of others when a mountain lion jumped from a hiding position and attacked.

The animal firmly bit the boy’s head and neck and began dragging him into the brush before two men shouted and ran toward the predator. The lion released the boy and ran off, although researchers later found evidence that the animal followed the group back to their vehicles after the attack, officials said.

The boy, who suffered bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck, was released Monday from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.