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Colorado Mother Fights Off Mountain Lion To Save Her Son

The Colorado boy was attacked by a mountain lion (though not this particular animal, photographed by the National Park Service in California's Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area).

A Colorado woman managed to fight off a mountain lion that was attacking her 5-year-old son.

During the harrowing rescue Friday evening, she "reached into the animal's mouth and wrested her son's head from its jaws," The Aspen Times reported.

The child was playing outside with his brother when his mother heard the sound of screaming, Pitkin County police said in a statement. She rushed outside to find a mountain lion on top of her son.

"The woman charged the animal, yanked away one of its paws and discovered her son's whole head was in its mouth," The Associated Press reported. She was then "able to physically remove her son from the mountain lion," the police said.

"She was able to pry the cat's jaws open," Deputy Michael Buglione told The Aspen Times. "She's a hero."

The child sustained injuries to his face, head and neck and is now in "fair condition," according to the police. He was transferred from Aspen to a hospital in Denver. His mother sustained minor injuries to her legs and hand.

The child and his mother's names have not been released.

Law enforcement officers responding to a 911 call found and killed a mountain lion in the family's front yard, the police said.

The mountain lion believed to be responsible for the attack was approximately two years old and male, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a statement.

"It wasn't a big cat," Buglione said, according to the Associated Press. "Had it been a 110-pound lion — which I've seen around here — this would have been a much different story."

CPW said that two lions "were seen in the near vicinity prior to the incident" – and according to The Aspen Times, a second big cat was tracked by hounds and killed early Saturday.

CPW added that that last time a mountain lion attacked a human in Colorado occurred in July 2015, when a lion scratched and bit a man fishing near the town of Dotsero.

Some 4,500 mountain lions live in Colorado, the AP reported. And CPW said lion sightings are on the rise, "likely due to a growing human population encroaching on lion habitat in conjunction with a robust lion population in the state."

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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