updated 4/16/2006 3:03:51 AM ET 2006-04-16T07:03:51

A 7-year-old boy hiking with his family was attacked Saturday by a mountain lion, officials said. The cat was later killed by a wildlife officer.

The mountain lion bit the boy’s head or jaw, and the child also suffered puncture wounds or scrapes on his legs, likely from the animal’s claws, Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Baskfield said.

The boy, whose name was not released, was apparently the last in a single-file line of seven other people taking a short hike at a scenic area of Flagstaff Mountain, Baskfield said.

“The father turned and saw the cat had a hold of the young boy,” he said. The group began screaming at the cat and throwing rocks and was able to free the boy, he said.

The group was 50 yards from a parking lot when the cat attacked, Baskfield said.

The boy was initially listed in stable condition at Boulder Community Hospital. He was later transferred to The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Baskfield said, but he did not know the boy’s condition.

Attack is unusual, officials say
An officer fatally shot the cat early Sunday in the same area of the attack, Baskfield said. It was killed in the interest of public safety, he said.

Baskfield said the mountain is prime habitat for the cats, and there had been several recent sightings of mountain lions west of Boulder.

“This is a very rare incident to happen,” Baskfield said. “Mountain lions tend to be very elusive. Typically mountain lions don’t want any part of people.”

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