Jogger Attacked by Cougar in Colorado, Chokes and Kills It with His Bare Hands

FOX31 Denver: A trail runner on Horsetooth Mountain Park killed a juvenile mountain lion that attacked him Monday afternoon by suffocating the animal, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported.

A male jogger, who was running by himself Monday, February 4, 2019 on the West Ridge Trail in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space southwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, was attacked by a mountain lion (cougar). He not only survived the attack, but killed the cougar with his bare hands.

The man said he heard something behind him, and when he turned around, an 80-pound mountain lion attacked him, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The less than 1 year-old cougar bit the runner’s face and wrist, but the runner managed to break free from the cougars jaws and claws, and kill the lion by choking the cougar.

A necropsy of the mountain lion confirmed the animal was suffocated, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife release Tuesday February 5, 2019. The lion, which was less than a year old, tested negative for rabies, according to a tweet from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

A man running on West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Park killed an attacking mountain lion by suffocation in self-defense Monday afternoon, according to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.






“The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”

— Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s northeast region manager

The runner suffered serious injuries, but was able to drive himself to a local hospital. He was treated and released.

The trails at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space were closed to the public Tuesday after rangers encountered “more mountain lion activity in the area,” according to the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources said.

Larimer County Rangers will re-assess the safety of the trails on Friday, the department said.

“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner. “This could have had a very different outcome.”

— Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Three people have been killed and 16 injured in mountain lion attacks in Colorado since 1990. The lions tend to avoid humans, but are more likely to attack when a human flees when spotting a cougar. In this case the man was already running, and didn’t see the cougar.

Standing still however may also cause a cougar to consider a person easy prey. Experts recommend behaving in a manner that makes the cougar think you would be difficult to kill, and recommend threatening an engaging cougar with intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other action — such as waving clothing — to appear larger and more powerful. The cougar may decide to find another prey. If the cougar attacks, fighting back with all energy possible, using sticks, rocks, a bicycle, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.

Twenty-seven people have been killed in 125 documented cases of cougar attacks in North America in records going back to 1890.

Attacks have occurred in Alberta, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Mexico, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington.

The most recent cougar attacks were two fatal attacks in 2018. A 32 year-old woman was attacked and killed while biking near North Bend, Washington on May 19, 2018. A 55 year-old female was attacked and killed in Mt. Hood National Forest on the Hunchback Mountain Trail on September 11, 2018.

The cougar or mountain lion is also known as puma, mountain cat, catamount or panther. A sub-population in Florida is known as the Florida panther. The largest cougars are 9 feet long, weighing up to 220 LBS. Black panthers located Asia and Africa are actually leopards, and black panthers in the Americas are black jaguars. There are no confirmed discoveries of black cougars.

Cougars have been sighted in Chicagoland and northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin in recent years. In August 2018 a cougar sighting was reported in Streamwood near Route 59 and Golf Road In January 2018 a cougar sighting was reported at the East Branch Forest Preserve near Glendale Heights. Several other cougar sightings have been reported in the northwest suburbs. Also, a cougar was shot and killed by police in the Roscoe Village neighborhood in Chicago in April 2008.

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