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Dad Fends Off Mountain Lion with His Backpack After It Attacked Toddler During Family Walk

Ashley Boucher
Dad Fends Off Mountain Lion with His Backpack After It Attacked Toddler During Family Walk

A father heroically saved his toddler from a mountain lion using nothing but what he had on his back — literally.

During a family walk at the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County, California, on Monday, a mountain lion surprised a father and his three-year-old, attacking the toddler.

The father reportedly threw a backpack at the mountain lion to distract it, and the animal dropped the toddler to pick up the backpack. The cat then took the pack up into a tree, CBS Los Angeles reported.

“A 3-year-old male was attacked by a mountain lion within Whiting Ranch around 4:15 this afternoon,” the Orange County Fire Authority said in a brief statement on Twitter Monday.

The toddler was airlifted from the park and taken to the hospital. Authorities evacuated the park, which was closed Monday evening.

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CBS Los Angeles reported that the toddler suffered some minor injuries, but was otherwise in stable condition.

“The child is in stable condition at a local hospital,” OCFA added in their tweet.

The mountain lion, however, was reportedly killed after the “Dept of Fish and Wildlife gave local law enforcement the approval to euthanize the lion due to the public safety threat,” according to the OCFA.

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California Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division Capt. Patrick Foy told the Los Angeles Times, however, that they would not be able to say for sure if the mountain lion that was killed was the same animal that injured the toddler until a follow-up investigation is completed.

The department of fish and wildlife and the OCFA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.