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California officials: Man's claim bear saved him from lion attack not substantiated

California wildlife officials are casting doubt on a man’s claim that he was saved from a mountain lion attack when a bear pulled the big cat off him, according to a local newspaper.

Robert Biggs, 69, of the northern California town of Paradise, says a mountain lion jumped on his back and knocked him over on Monday while he was walking on trails, a story that's been reported by many media outlets.

“I had a rock in my right hand, and I come around and swing and hit him in the side of the head, and it made a big screeching sound. And I come back to swing again, and I come around, and just about half way there, I see this dark figure grabbing the neck of the mountain lion and tearing it down [to] the ground behind me,” Biggs told Fox40.com, noting the dark figure was a “mama bear.”

But Department of Fish and Game spokesman Patrick Foy told the Paradise Post: "We did interview Mr. Biggs and we are unable to substantiate a lion attack."

Harry Morse, another department spokesman, said they had no plans to pursue the alleged mountain lion and that a warden determined Biggs’ injury was not consistent with such an attack, the Paradise Post reported. But officials will test DNA from blood found on a backpack to see if it did belong to a mountain lion, Foy said.

Biggs got a few scratches in the alleged encounter.

“I’m sure the bear was trying to save me because the way it was looking at me just two minutes before I was standing there watching her, and she was looking at me like we were old friends,” he told Fox40.com.

Foy said it was not likely a bear would be so friendly with a man. There have only been 16 verified mountain lion attacks from 1890 to 2007, none of which were in Butte County, in which Paradise is located.

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