ORICK, Calif. – A female mountain lion shot by game wardens at a state park had human blood in her claws, leading wildlife officials to believe the cat is responsible for attacking a 70-year-old man.
Jim Hamm of Fortuna underwent surgery Wednesday after suffering serious wounds to his scalp and body when the lion ambushed him while he hiked at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Game wardens fatally shot two lions following the attack.
"We were confident from the start that we had the lions that were responsible," said Steve Martarano, a California Department of Fish and Game spokesman.
Hamm's wife, Nell, 65, smashed the cat in the snout with a large branch and stabbed it with a pen to fend off the attack. Hamm continued to recover at Mad River Community Hospital on Saturday.
The department's wildlife forensics lab will now test the blood found in the lion's claws to determine if it belongs to Hamm, Martarano said.