(KTLA) – Officials with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Malibu, California, said Solstice Canyon was temporarily closed after a young mountain lion tried to attack a small, leashed dog walking with its owner.  

The encounter, according to officials, happened Tuesday morning. While intervening to protect his dog, the hiker suffered a puncture wound and a scratch on his hand. The dog was uninjured. 

“A scratch basically, just minor injuries,” Seth Riley, the wildlife branch chief for the U.S. National Park Service, told LAist. “He was able to grab the dog and keep the lion from capturing it.”

National Park Service rangers provided the hiker with first aid on the scene.  

Out of an abundance of caution and because a second young mountain lion was spotted in the immediate area, officials closed the park until 8 a.m. Thursday while wildlife biologists examined the area and assessed the situation.  

“Mountain lions are unpredictable, wild animals,” officials said. “While conflicts with humans are rare, there is always a risk when recreating in areas used by mountain lions.”  

Solstice Canyon in Malibu. (National Park Service)

If you encounter a mountain lion, experts recommend that you: 

  • Make yourself appear as large and intimidating as possible by yelling, waving your arms and even throwing objects in the direction of the animal.
  • Slowly back away and allow space for the big cats to move away. 
  • Do not turn your back and run.
  • The National Park Service requires pets to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. 

More information on avoiding encounters and coexisting with mountain lions can be found here.