Mountain Lion Attacks Calif. Woman

A woman was attacked by a mountain lion while hiking in central California, but was rescued when her friends stabbed the animal with a knife and threw rocks at it, officials said.

Shannon Parker lost her right eye, was injured in her other eye and suffered deep lacerations to her right thigh during the attack Saturday, officials with the California Department of Fish and Game (search) said.

Parker, 27, of Santa Monica, was transferred to UCLA Medical Center (search), where she underwent reconstructive surgery Sunday morning, Game and Fish spokesman Steve Martarano said.

Parker's family asked UCLA not to release her condition, hospital spokeswoman Rachel Shampeau said.

Authorities said Parker was hiking with three male friends about 20 miles north of Kernville when the 70-pound female lion (search) attacked her, Martarano said. The lion ran off after Parker's friends stabbed it and threw rocks at it.

The lion left a bloody trail as it fled, and was later shot and killed by U.S. Forest Service officers and state game wardens, Martarano said.

The lion "appeared to be emaciated" and officials will do a necropsy Monday to determine whether it was sick or injured, Martarano said.

A 2002 wildfire in the area may have hampered the lion's ability to find enough food, he said.

"Before the fire, [the area] was considered moderate to good mountain lion and deer habitat. The fire changed everything," but the area had recently started to revive, Martarano said.

He said the incident was the 15th mountain lion attack on a human in California since 1890.

In January, a mountain lion killed a cyclist and mauled another near Los Angeles.