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1 man killed, his brother injured in 1st fatal California mountain lion attack in 20 years

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Officials have confirmed that an attack by a mountain lion in a remote Northern California region west of Lake Tahoe left one man dead and his brother injured, marking the first fatal incident by a mountain lion in the state in 20 years.

The attack took place on Saturday afternoon while the brothers, ages 21 and 18, were out searching for shed deer antlers near the El Dorado National Forest, about 52 miles northeast of Sacramento. An 18-year-old man called 911 on Saturday at about 1:13 p.m. PT to report that he and his brother had been attacked by the mountain lion in Georgetown and he had become separated from his older sibling, according to a statement from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.  Georgetown is a small town north of Placerville, California.

When sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrived at the scene near Georgetown around 1:34 p.m., they located the injured teenager and began administering first aid. The teenager sustained “traumatic injuries to his face” and transported to a nearby hospital. Information on his condition was not immediately disclosed. Additional deputies sent to the scene launched a search for the teenager’s brother, finding the 21-year-old man nearby lying motionless on the ground with the mountain lion crouched next to him. According to a statement, “deputies discharged their firearms in order to scare the mountain lion off so they could render medical aid,” but by the time they reached the victim, he was dead.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement on social media: “Following the mountain lion attack today, Sat., March 23, 2024, in Georgetown, California, a mountain lion was euthanized near the scene of the attack. The mountain lion has been sent to the CDFW forensics laboratory to obtain DNA information and general health of the lion.”

Authorities said mountain lion attacks are rare, and most verified encounters between the big cats and humans are not fatal. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, before Saturday’s attack there had been only three fatal mountain lion attacks on humans in California since 1994, the most recent involving a 35-year-old male who was fatally mauled in 2004 at Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County.

Editorial credit: Arne Beruldsen / Shutterstock.com

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