Cougar attacks girl on Canadian Pacific Coast Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:34 PM EDT VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A four-year-old girl was recovering in hospital on Thursday from head injuries suffered when she was attacked by a cougar on Vancouver Island, officials said. The girl was walking with her family on a trail to the Kaouk River near the coastal village of Zeballos on Wednesday when the mountain lion pounced out of the trees, according to the Conservation Officer Service. Wildlife officers said the girl's mother hit the animal with a cooler until it let go of the child and fled. Search crews attempted to track the animal, but were unable to find it in the rough terrain. Vancouver Island, on Canada's Pacific Coast, is home to an estimated 400 cougars. Although it is rare for the carnivorous cats to hunt humans, there have been attacks in recent years at the northern end of the island, where Zeballos is located. "It is a predatory attack but a sudden one. There's no way it was stalking that particular group of people. It was probably waiting by the trail for something to come along," said Peter Pauwels, a conservation officer. Pauwels said the cougar was probably a younger animal, because it was described as being smaller than a normal adult cougar. Adult cougars usually weigh between 120 and 130 pounds in that area of Vancouver Island. The girl, who is from the Vancouver area, was transported by air to a Vancouver hospital, where she underwent surgery for a scalp wounds and was reported to be in stable condition. Pauwels said it is unlikely the cat poses a special threat to humans because its attack was unsuccessful. "We may never see this cat again," he said. Wildlife experts say people who are attacked by cougars should fight back rather than attempt to flee. © Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.