The big cat’s attack was at about 8 a.m. Saturday in a homeless camp near Highway 74 at Navaho Road, close to a shopping center west of Interstate 215. That site is a brushy vacant lot surrounded by subdivisions and businesses.
“We are asking nearby residents to be aware there is a lion in the area and to be careful with their pets and children,” said Lt. Patrick Foy in a statement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The 50-year-old victim suffered puncture wounds and bite marks to the base of his skull, and other injuries that were described as severe lacerations to his neck, arms and back, Foy said.
There were no witnesses to the attack, said Dan Sforza, assistant chief with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Dispatchers received a call at 8:10 a.m. from a resident describing a bloody homeless man, outside the house and asking for help. The victim had managed to walk to the home despite his injuries, Foy said.
Arriving paramedics took the injured man to Menifee Valley Medical Center, Sforza said. The man’s name was not released, but he underwent surgery Saturday night and his condition was not immediately known, officials said.
Fish and wildfire authorities have not interviewed the man, but they think a mountain lion attacked him. Baited traps have been set up to snare the big cat, and DNA samples were collected from the man’s wounds to match with the animal if it is captured, officials said.
If found, the mountain lion will be destroyed “in the interest of public safety,” the state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported.