A 6-year-old girl is recovering from minor injuries after a mountain lion (also known as a cougar or puma) attacked her in a California nature preserve. KGO reports that the child was walking with her parents, four other adults, and four other children around 10am Sunday in the Rancho San Antonio Preserve, which is adjacent to the Rancho San Antonio County Park in Cupertino, when a mountain lion emerged from the bushes and started mauling her. An adult in the group started punching the big cat in the ribs, and it eventually ran off. NBC Bay Area reports it was a friend of the girl's father who fought off the cougar, believed to be anywhere from 100 to 160 pounds, during the attack, which took place about a mile from the preserve's front entrance.
The girl, who received some minor puncture wounds to her calf, is expected to fully recover, authorities say. A message on the preserve's website says that it's closed until further notice; NBC notes the decision to shut it down came after an overnight search for the mountain lion turned up nothing. Mountain lion attacks are said to be rare, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirming only 17 such attacks on people over the last century. If you ever do encounter a mountain lion, "remain calm, make yourself loud and large, and slowly back away," a rep for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District tells the Mercury News. (Read more mountain lion stories.)