According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the family was camping near Green Canyon Hot Springs just outside of Rexburg Idaho when the wild animal approached and tried to drag the small child away from the camp.
“She got out of the tent because she couldn’t find her shoe,” said the girl’s grandfather, Jim Sevy. “That’s when the mountain lion grabbed her and started carrying her away.”
Fish and Game spokesman Gregg Losinski told EastIdahoNews.com, “The family had seen the lion in the vicinity earlier in the day, which in itself is highly unusual. When the cat appeared later in the evening and attempted to snatch the child, the family began yelling at the cougar and it dropped the girl and fled.”
The girl was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where she was treated for a few minor scratches. Miraculously, she was otherwise unharmed.
The girl’s mother said that despite everything, she knew that it would be okay. “I had this overwhelming feeling that she was fine,” she said. “I just had this comfort that she was okay and I felt like angels were there protecting her.”
Idaho Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer Andrew Sorenson, with the help of Idaho hound hunter Mike Pimentel, tracked down and euthanized the lion. According to Losinski, cougar sightings are very rare, and attacks are even more unheard of.
“When lions do attack, records indicate that small children are often the targets,” he said. “This family showed how vigilance and quick thinking can help avert a tragedy.”
Following the incident, the family returned to the campsite to finish their family trip. After all, camping is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the U.S., especially for families.