A 7-year-old boy suffered injuries to his head, neck, and arms after he was mauled by at least two cougars on Vancouver Island.

The child was outside near the Lakeview Park campground in the town of Lake Cowichan when he was attacked on Friday afternoon, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

The young boy was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital in serious condition.

Rod Peters, the mayor of Lake Cowichan, said he spoke with a young girl who was looking after the boy at the time of the incident.

“She was the one who told me his arms were chewed in and he’d be OK,” Peters told CTV Vancouver Island on Friday.

Neighbours said they’re aware of cougars in the area, but they’re shocked by what happened to the little boy.

“It is really horrible to hear when you have a child actually attacked like that,” neighbour Jeff Bain said. “We hadn’t heard any warnings in the past few days from our dogs or anything in the past few days so it’s kind of a surprise.”

Conservation officers searched the area and found the two cougars still on property where the boy was attacked. The officers shot and killed both of the animals.

“From the first look, they’re quite thin. They’re quite young cats, not looking like they’re doing very well,” Sgt. Scott Norris from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said.

“Cats that are not very well fed are the ones that are going to take chances and do things they shouldn’t necessarily be doing.”

The family and neighbours said they only saw two cougars, but conservations officers scoured the neighbourhood anyway to ensure there weren’t any others.

RCMP advised residents to stay indoors while police and conservation officers worked in the area.

“It’s fairly serious,” RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau said. “It’s not completely uncommon, but still very, very rare. [It’s] just a dangerous situation for everyone.”