Child injured in possible mountain lion encounter at Cupertino park

A child has minor injuries after an encounter with an animal, believed to be a mountain lion, at Rancho San Antonio County Park in Cupertino Sunday morning, according to park authorities.

The park and open space preserve, which is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, is closed until further notice, the district said in a statement late Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, the child was walking with their parents on a trail about two miles from the park’s main parking area, when the child encountered an animal, suspected to be a mountain lion, the district said. The child’s parents scared away the animal.

A ranger treated the child, who had minor injuries, around 10 a.m. Sunday.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Midpen rangers are investigating the incident and identify the animal involved.

District officials didn’t provide other information Sunday about how the encounter with the animal unfolded or whether the animal attacked the child, noting the investigation is still ongoing.

“We know it was a group of preserve visitors on one of the preserve trails,’ said Leigh Ann Gessner, a public affairs specialist for the district.

The park is closed until further notice and will reopen once the investigation is complete.

Mountain lion sightings, and such encounters, are rare, Gessner said. Mountain lions are generally not a threat to people, are scared by loud noises and avoid areas of human activity.

“It’s rare, but the Santa Cruz mountains are the habitat for mountain lions, so folks should be vigilant and aware,” said Gessner. “You should remain calm, make yourself loud and large, and slowly back away.”

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