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Search resumes for mountain lion
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CUPERTINO  (AP) — Authorities in Northern California will resume searching for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy said a new team of tracking dogs will take over Monday evening after the search was halted earlier because a previous team of dogs became exhausted while scouring rugged terrain in humid conditions for the big cat.

Foy said authorities will also set three live traps with roadkill as bait to try catching the animal.

“The animal is pretty comfortable in these surroundings. There’s no indication to us that he’s gone pretty far,” Foy said. “We feel that he’s nearby.”

Officials said the boy was released from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on Monday, a day after suffering bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck while hiking with his family and others at the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve near the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino. The boy’s name has not been released.

The boy’s father told investigators his son was about 10 feet ahead of the group when a mountain lion “came out of nowhere” and attacked the boy, Foy said.

Hiking trails remained closed during the search.

After calling off Sunday’s search at dusk, the team spent overnight at the site of the attack hoping the lion would return. Authorities opted for a smaller search crew to increase its probability of tracking down the animal though fresh scents and prints, Foy said.

“We’ve intentionally minimized the team to eliminate any scent and track contamination in order to find this animal who we believe is a threat to public safety,” Foy said. “We will be here for as long as it takes.”

If found, authorities intend to kill the lion and test it for rabies, Foy added.

He said the mountain lion attacked in a manner similar to the way it would a group of deer by targeting the easiest prey, usually the smallest member. The lion dragged the boy into some brush before his father and the other male adult in the hiking group shouted and acted aggressively toward the animal, scaring it away, Foy added.

“That little boy probably would be dead had they not intervened,” Foy said.

There have been 13 verified mountain lion attacks in California between 1986 and 2013, three of which resulted in deaths, according to the Fish and Wildfire department.

The trail where the attack occurred is on land owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which buys and protects land in the San Francisco Bay Area.