(ANIMAL ATTACK) TEXAS — On Sunday morning, 6-year-old Rivers Hobbs was walking with his parents along a sidewalk near their lodge in Big Bend National Park when a mountain lion attacked the boy, clamping on to his face.  This is a barely avoided tragedy born from desperate circumstances. Mountain lions rarely attack humans as they generally don’t associate people as prey. The rise in recent attacks, from 53 reported between 1890 and 1990, to 88 attacks by 2004, is simply due to the constantly expanding human population into mountain lion habitats. These attacks are often the result of a severely starved animal in desperation. The attack on 6-year-old Rivers Hobbs is tragic and we’re grateful for his  father’s heroic rescue and Rivers’ quick recovery. But by no means should this mountain lion be hunted down and killed for being starving and lost. Surely this lion can be darted and moved deeper into the wilderness. The incident also calls out for habitat protection for all species. Read below for more on this survival story. — Global Animal
The victim, 6-year-old Rivers Hobbs, sits on his father/rescuers lap two days after being attacked by a mountain lion. Photo credit: abcnews.go.com

New York Daily News, Philip Caulfield

Park officials in west Texas are hunting for a mountain lion that mauled a 6-year-old boy just steps from the lodge where he was staying with his family.

Rivers Hobbs was walking with his mom and dad on a sidewalk on Sunday between a restaurant and the Chisos Mountain Lodge in Big Bend National Park when the cougar crept up on him and lunged for his head.

“It had a hold of his face… the cat was clamped on his face,” his father, Jason Hobbs, told local CBS News.

“I reached down and got my pocket knife out and stabbed the cat in the chest and it let go at that point,” the brave pop said.

Rivers suffered two large gashes and puncture wounds to his face and was rushed to a hospital in Alpine.

Park officials said he was released after receiving stiches.

A park official told CBS News that the same lion — described as “young and in bad shape” — tried to attack another family earlier that day, but ran off after someone hit it with a backpack.

The Hobbses were fuming after the attack, claiming the lodge wasn’t doing enough to catch the loose cougar.

“I heard them say right in front of me that they were not going to tell the other people at the lodge that there was an attack and the lion is still at large,” says Rivers’ mom, Kristi Harris, told CBS News.

“We’re lucky he’s walking away with scars and it didn’t get him by the neck,” Jason Hobbs said.

Park officials said they will kill the animal if they find it.