California mountain lion attacks brothers, killing one and injuring other


A mountain lion killed a 21-year-old man and badly wounded his younger brother before officials euthanized the animal on Saturday afternoon in a remote wooded area of northern California, according to authorities.

It was the state’s first fatal mountain lion attack on a person in about 20 years, statistics from California wildlife officials show.

The man, identified on Monday as Taylen Robert Claude Brooks, was killed in the Georgetown area of El Dorado county, the local sheriff’s office wrote in a news release. His brother, Wyatt Jay Charles Brooks, 18, is expected to recover after multiple surgeries. The brothers were reportedly hunting for shed antlers.

“We are all devastated by the tragic loss of Taylen yet thankful Wyatt is still with us and are well-aware the outcome could have been even worse,” their family said in a statement released on Monday. “These two young men being as close as any two brothers could be, lived a full energetic life enjoying the outdoors.”

Deputies said the caller, Wyatt, became separated from his brother and had “traumatic injuries” to his face as a result of the attack. Emergency responders then met Wyatt, provided him first aid and brought him to a hospital while deputies searched for Taylen.

Taylen was on the ground next to the crouched mountain lion when deputies said they found him and the animal at about 1.45pm. Deputies pulled their guns and fired what were essentially warning shots to scare the mountain lion away. They then approached Taylen in hopes of providing him first aid, but realized he had died, said the release from the sheriff’s office.

An El Dorado county animal trapper as well as wardens with California’s fish and wildlife department subsequently found the mountain lion again and put it down. Once “the mountain lion was dispatched”, the trapper and wardens collected the animal’s carcass “for further examination”, sheriff’s deputies said.

Authorities said they now planned to turn their focus toward understanding why Saturday’s deadly attack happened.

“A fatality like this is extremely rare,” the El Dorado sheriff’s office spokesperson, Kyle Parker, told the California news station KCRA.

Statistics from California’s fish and wildlife department document only 22 mountain lion-on-human attacks in the state since 1986. Four of those cases involved mountain lions killing people, according to the stats, which were last updated in May 2022.

The most recent of those attacks was in 2004 in Orange county. In that instance, a mountain lion killed the competitive cyclist Mark Jeffrey Reynolds in the Whiting Ranch wilderness park, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The same mountain lion which killed Reynolds was suspected of injuring a second cyclist hours later before deputies shot the animal to death.

Meanwhile, CBS News’ affiliate in Sacramento reported that the last time a mountain lion killed a person in El Dorado county before Saturday was in 1994.

Georgetown, California, is about 50 miles (80km) north-east of Sacramento.

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, vary in size. But, typically, they can be about 30in (76cm) in height at the shoulder, 8ft (2.4 meters) in length, and 175lb (79kg) in weight.

This article by Ramon Antonio Vargas was first published by The Guardian on 25 March 2024. Lead Image: A mountain lion. Authorities said they plan to turn their focus toward understanding why Saturday’s deadly attack happened. Photograph: Karel Bock/Getty Images/iStockphoto.

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