A Florida cougar cross breed relaxes at the Southern Florida Rehabilitation Center September 16, 2000 in Homestead, Florida.

A Californian mom has been called “a hero” by state officials: she fought off a mountain lion with her bare hands after it attacked her 5-year-old son.

Her boy was playing by a tree near the front yard of their home in Calabasas, on Thursday morning (August 26) when a 65-pound mountain lion attacked him, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported. Department spokesman Patrick Foy said the mountain lion inflicted wounds to his head, neck and upper torso, dragging him about 45 yards before his mother came to the rescue. The boy’s parents transported him to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He remains in the hospital in stable condition.

After law enforcement was notified of the attack, wildlife officials went to the family’s home when an officer noticed an “aggressive” mountain lion crouched in the corner of the property. Officials said because of the mountain lion’s behavior and location, they, “believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety, shot and killed it on site.”

Approximately 20 minutes after the wildlife officer shot the mountain lion, two more mountain lions appeared. After confirming with the boy’s mother that the attacking lion did not have a collar, the wildlife officer used a non-lethal tranquilizing rifle to capture the other non-collared lion. DNA from the dispatched lion matched the young boy’s, concluding that it was the attacking lion that was shot.

Citing safety concerns, officials used a nonlethal tranquilizer on the uncollared, similar mountain lion. After confirming the tranquilized mountain lion was not involved in the attack, it was released back into the wild.

The size of the deceased mountain lion indicated it was a kitten born less than one year ago. Experts said the attack might have happened because the boy was small and the mountain lion is still trying to learn how to hunt for food.