The Associated Press
COOL, Calif. -- Trackers hunted Monday for the cubs of a slain mountain lion that state wildlife experts say killed a jogger on a secluded mountain trail.
State-hired hunters with dogs treed and killed the 80-pound female cougar Sunday near the Auburn State Recreation Area site where runner Barbara Schoener, 40, was mauled to death April 23.
A laboratory examination showed the animal had given birth to cubs within the past four to six weeks.
"Their chances of surviving beyond a week would be relatively rare,” said Terry Mansfield, the Fish and Game Department’s chief of wildlife. He said the cubs, if found, would be turned over to zoos.
The lion was feeding on deer meat when the dogs picked up the scent Sunday.
"The dogs ‘jumped’ the mountain lion at a deer kill; the chase lasted only a few minutes,” said Fish and Game spokeswoman Lorna Bernard.
Investigators believe the 2- to 3-year old mountain lion struck Schoener from the rear, knocking her from the popular jogging path and repeatedly attacking her. The site is about 45 miles northeast of Sacramento.
Her partially eaten body was found the next day buried under leaves and branches. Cougars often bury their prey, then return later when hungry.
Investigators said the lion apparently returned several times to the killing site.
"The cat was literally on the scene where Barbara was attacked,” said Ryan Broddrick, regional manager for the Fish and Game Department.
Broddrick said marks found on Schoener's body appeared to match the cat’s teeth, but said a full examination of the cougar would take several days.
The animal’s remains were sent to a University of California, Davis, laboratory for tests.
Schoener was the first person killed during a cougar attack in California this century. In 1909, a woman and child died of rabies in Santa Clara County following a mountain lion attack.
State experts said the lion was a threat to public safety and had to be killed to prevent further attacks on humans. They also said they wished to medically examine the animal.
"The cat had learned that people who are jogging did not represent a threat ... and may repeat the process,” he said.
The 4,200-acre park in Sierra foothills won’t reopen to the public until officials are sure they’ve killed the right cougar. Read Next Article