A Canadian mother has fought off a cougar with her bare hands after it pinned down her 3-year-old daughter in a forest.

The child, Maya, escaped with only superficial wounds after the attack near the town of Brackendale, 40 miles north of Vancouver.

But the cougar, an adult male, was tracked down and killed by conservation officers on Wednesday, reports said.

The girl's father Pablo Espinosa told public broadcaster CBC that his daughter thought the wild cat wanted to play.

Maya asked: "Why didn't the kitty play nice?" Espinosa said.

The girl and her mother Maureen Lee were walking on a wooded trail with their dog when the cougar pounced.

"All of a sudden it just flew on her, rolled her a couple of times and grabbed her," Lee told CBC.

"She was on her back and (the cougar) had his paws on her head, and I just knew I had to react quick.

"So I just jumped in there and wedged myself between the cougar and her on the ground."

Then "I just got up and threw it off my back and grabbed" Maya and ran, she went on.

Click here to read the story from Sky News.