List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks
In the United States and Canada
2001 - 2010
Lion Attacks Introduction and Table of Contents
This page records 10 years of confirmed cougar attacks from January, 2001,
and continuing through December, 2010.
An attack is defined primarily as an incident in which a wild cougar bit, clawed,
or knocked down a human. An attack may be included that was thwarted if it appears
contact was otherwise imminent. Attacks by captive cougars are omitted.
Hunter incidents, attacks on animals, non-injury encounters, and accounts
not confirmed to be cougar attacks have been moved to this separate
Other Incidents Page.
Many links expire on the internet, but my goal has been to present enough
information here for researchers to find needed data from the original
[Beier's Study Span 1890-1990]
Deaths are highlighted in red text.
(3 Injury Reports, including Canadian skier's death,
4 Non-injury Reports, 1 Pet Report, 1 False Report)
02 January. Husky sleeping in her doghouse attacked in Banff,
Alberta. See this pet report
02 January. Woman walking dog rescued by neighbor in Banff, Alberta.
See this non-injury report
02 January. Frances Frost, a 30-year-old
cross-country skier was killed by a mountain lion in Banff National Park,
Alberta, Canada while skiing alone around 1 p.m. on Cascade Fire
Road, part of the Lake Minnewanka Loop near the town of Canmore.
According to Park Chief Warden
Ian Syme, the cougar, which was more than two meters long, stalked Frost
by hiding behind a tree at some distance from the trail. As she passed by,
heading toward the trail head, the animal bounded up behind her, jumped on
her back, bit her neck, and killed her. "I suspect that she may not even
know what hit her." A healthy adult male cougar (8 years old) was later
shot by wardens where it was found standing over her body. Reports did not
say if Frances had been consumed but this may be inferred from her father's
statement, "They asked us later if we wanted to see the body, but when
we heard [the manner of her death] we said, 'No. We'll remember her
the way she was.'"
This is the first death by
cougar in the history of the Park, and in Alberta. Park wardens think
that elk, the main prey of wolves and cougars, have moved closer to
Banff because hunting is not allowed in national parks, and the cougars
and wolves have followed. Sources:
(Banff Crag & Canyon News;
(February 5, 2001 Issue of Wildlife Encounters;
A lesson unlearned;
31 January. Two biology students were stalked by a cougar while
hiking in Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California. See this non-injury report
08 February. Seattle resident, Jon Nostdal, 52, was attacked at
about 9:30 p.m. by a cougar as he rode his bicycle from where he had
dinner in Port Alice, British Columbia, on northern Vancouver Island, back
to where his tugboat was moored near the town's pulp mill. Nostdal was less
than 2 miles (about 3 kilometers) from town when he heard clicking sounds.
He thought something was loose in his backpack, but when the clicking sound
gradually became louder, Nostdal sensed that something was approaching from
behind. Before he could turn around, the cougar jumped him and bit the
bunched-up hood of his captain's coat, knocking him to the ground. He
realized the noise had been the cat's paws on the pavement. Nostdal fought
the cat for what seemed like a few minutes before passerby Elliot Cole, 39,
saw the struggle on his way home from the mill. The cougar was behind
Nostdal, chewing on his neck, with its claws gripping his head and chest.
Cole stopped his truck, yelled at the cat, attacked it with a heavy bag,
and then began punching the cougar in the head. But the cougar would not
release Nostdal, so he used Nostdal's bicycle and was able to pin the cat
with it and free him. He told Nostdal to flee to his truck and
"smoked the cougar one more time" with his fist, bouncing the cat's head on
the pavement. Then he also ran to his truck and climbed inside. The cougar
refused to leave. Only when Cole pulled out to take Nostdal to the
hospital, did the cat run out from under the truck and disappear.
Nostdal was hospitalized at Port Alice Hospital, where he was treated for bites
on his head and several lacerations to his face. RCMP Constable Randy Freeborn
said wildlife officials believe the cougar was one injured several days
previously by a car. It may have been the same one that had confronted a
local resident recently and killed several pets. On February 23, a Port Alice
resident shot a cougar suspected of being the cat, which attacked Nostdal.
Sources: (The Globe and Mail;
Canadian Press; 02/09/2001)
(Vancouver Sun; Doug Ward; 02/10/2001)
Campbell River Couple Survives Cougar Attack)
21 February. Couple attacked in their makeshift cabin
near Rupert Arm, British Columbia. See this non-injury report
05 April. Man reported attacked in his suburban Las Vegas,
Nevada, backyard by an albino lion encountered previously by other residents.
See this deliberately false report made by
The Las Vegas Mercury which later admitted they mix satire with
06 May. Man startles cougar with his sneeze on a lone hike in Oklahoma.
See this non-injury report
David Wood, 19, a resident near Cornwall, Ontario, went
outside around 1 a.m. in response to the barking of his brother's dog.
Noticing the top of a tail in the forest near the family's goat pen, he
approached it from the rear and came within one meter of it before it
suddenly spun and lunged at his head. He protected his face with his
right forearm, which was bitten, and he kicked the animal in the ribs.
The animal made another lunge before he scared it off. Though he didn't
get a good look at it that night, the next day around 7 p.m. he saw a
cougar crouching in roughly the same spot near the goat pen.
"Everybody's terrified," said Christine Wood, David's mother.
"You used to see people going for walks in the evening. You
don't see that anymore." She said her neighbors rarely see deer,
the cougar's favorite food, anymore and she has heard "awful growling"
in the forest behind her house.
Michael Sanders, a wildlife biologist in Montana, and Dr. E. Lee Fitzhugh,
Wildlife Enhancement Specialist, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation
Biology at the University of CA at Davis, analyzed the position of the teeth
from photos of the bite and determined that the bite matched that of a cougar.
This is the first confirmed cougar attack in the East since 1751.
Sources (Ontario bite; The Ottawa Citizen; August 15, 2001; by
Matthew Sekeres); (Cougar warning issued in eastern Ontario: Teen
attacked by wild cat in his backyard; The Toronto Star; 08/17/2001;)
(4 Injury Reports, 1 Pet Report, 1 Non-injury Report)
23 June. 8-year-old Rita Hilsabeck of Reno, Nevada, was attacked Sunday
by an adult, 88 pound, male lion on Compton Island, south of Alert Bay about
24 kilometres east of Port Mccall, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
She was on a kayaking trip with her parents and seven other people including
2 guides. As adults set up camp for the night at about 4.45 p.m., Rita and
11-year-old Charles Eisner went to the beach to collect seashells. A cougar
leapt from the bushes and began to drag Rita toward the woods, with
its jaws locked on her head and neck. Hearing her cries for help, her father
Chuck Hilsabeck charged the cat, yelling and shouting, and he was quickly
followed by the rest of the party. The lion dropped Rita and ran to the woods
and up a tree.
A doctor who was part of the group administered first aid until they could get
her to the hospital at Port Mccall. Expected to make a full recovery, Rita's
most serious wounds were deep gashes around her neck, where the cougar grabbed
her. She also required some stitches on her arm and lower back.
Nearby fishing resort owner, Paul Evans, traveled to the campsite and shot
and killed the still treed cougar. Dan Dwyer, a senior conservation officer
with the ministry of water, land, and air protection, said the girl was lucky
to survive the textbook cougar attack. The cougar was being tested for rabies
in Nanaimo but appeared of normal weight and
health. The cougar's stomach was empty, indicating the lion was hungry.
06/24/2002; BCTV News on Global;
Girl survives cougar attack on island)
(The Vancouver Sun;
06/25/2002; Jeremy Sandler;
Girl, 8, saved from cougar attack)
06/26/2002; News; A10; Keith Fraser;
Cougar that bit girl was 'hungry')
(The Official Journal of The Wildnerness Medical Society;
Cougar Attacks on Humans: A Case Report;
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine: Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 169?173; Denise McKee, MD)
01 August. 61-year-old David Parker was attacked by a
100 pound (45 Kg) adult, male cougar at about 7:30 p.m. on his nightly
stroll along a road near his home about two kilometres outside of Port Alice.
Because of a sudden downpour, he took shelter from the rain under a rock
ledge hanging over the remote gravel road. As he leaned against the rock
shelf outcropping, the cougar pounced down beside him, startling him. When
he went for his pocket knife, he left his neck exposed and the cougar lunged.
He had to throw his head in a way to protect his neck, *which is when it bit
his scalp and pulled it down over his eyes. In the struggle, Parker was
hurled into the ditch, where his jaw was shattered against a rock and his
As the cat clawed and bit into his neck, face, and head, Parker managed
to open his knife's three-inch blade, stab the cougar a few times, and
eventually slit its throat, leaving the cat to bleed in the middle of
the gravel road.
With darkness descending and no one nearby on the deserted gravel road,
Parker, a retired millworker, managed to walk one kilometre to an industrial
log sorting depot, where Jeff Reaume sped him to hospital in a company-owned
Reaume said whether
by instinct, knowledge, or luck, Parker was able to slash the throat of the
mauling cat -- the surest way to kill it. "He knew how to cut the cat.
He knew what he was doing. If it was someone who didn't know how to cut
it, we'd have found a body there -- or nothing at all, just blood."
A friend of Parker's, Larry Pepper, mayor of the small forestry-dependent
town near the north end of Vancouver Island, figures the cougar kept
fighting for two or three minutes even after being slashed, but it finally
died on the road. "Not that many people get attacked by a cougar and get away."
From the hospital in Port Alice, Parker was transferred to Port Hardy,
then air-lifted to Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital, where he underwent
reconstructive facial surgery the next day after which he was listed in stable
but critical condition in the intensive-care unit.
A couple of months after the attack, Mr. Parker spoke to the conservation
officer who reviewed the situation. The man said, based on an autopsy of the cat,
that it was a healthy three-to-four-year-old with fat that suggested it was in
good shape. It had eaten 10 to 12 hours before the attack. "I just wonder why it attacked me,"
Port Alice residents have long been aware of the dangers of cougars and have
been warned by officials to walk in groups or
carry bats, knives, or pepper spray to protect themselves from aggressive cats.
Thursday's attack was the fourth in about two years for the north Island
and the second for Port Alice. Sources:
Man kills cougar in fight to survive;
Jim Beatty; August 03, 2002)
From the jaws of death;
Jim Beatty; August 08, 2002)
Cougar attack a fight to the death;
Jim Beatty; August 08, 2002)
(Times Colonist (Victoria);
Emily Bowers; August 08, 2002)
(The National Post at Canada.com;
The cougar had 'his fangs in me' - B.C. man slit cat's throat: David Parker still lives with the damage -- and the anger;
Ian Bailey; October 21, 2002)
11 September. 31-year-old Gwyn Stacey, was attacked by a cougar as she
jogged with her dog between 6 and 7 p.m. near Summit Lake, just west
of Olympia, Washington. She ran into the cougar, which she estimated
to weigh 80 or 90 pounds, at the top
of the peak on her routine run. It was on top of a rock outcropping. It
disappeared after a short time during which she yelled and waved her arms.
After backing away for a short distance, she began running back out, and
it stalked her along the way, eventually running ahead of her and waiting
for her. She saw it in some bushes just before it attacked her, giving
her a chance to dodge it, so that the lion only scratched her arm with a
single claw and leaped over her and ran off. It made only one pass at her,
and it showed no interest in her medium sized dog at any time during the stalking.
State Fish and Wildlife officials had been warning area residents to be
careful regarding mountain lions in the area. A report was made only when
the woman happened to mentioned the attack to a forest ranger the next day
while picking up maps at a national forest headquarters. Wildlife officers
used hounds to track the cougar. As of the following weekend, they had been
unable to pick up a scent, but they planned to keep trying. Sources:
(The Olympian; Olympia Washington;
Cougar that hurt woman still on lam;
Olympian staff; 09/15/2002) (E-mailed interview by author, Jerry Stoddard;
14 September. 4-Hers pet lamb killed in Healdsburg, California.
See this pet attack
At dusk, world class kick boxer (over 100 victories) Karina Jackson, 35,
was attacked by a cougar at her home about seven miles east of Newkirk,
Oklahoma, near the Arkansas River. She had gone outside to check on a litter
of American Staffordshire
Terriers in a pen located about 75 feet from her house. Noticing a puppy
was out of the pen, she went into a neighboring hay field to retrieve him.
She heard something rustling in the tall weeds at the edge of the field.
Not seeing anything she continued toward the puppy. Suddenly she felt
something hit her in the upper part of her left arm and she was knocked
down. "It felt like I got kicked by a horse or a cow." Picking herself up,
she saw a large cat running away from her. Frightened and stunned,
she only realized she had been injurred after she quickly returned the puppy
to its pen, ran to the house, and then noticed her arm felt wet.
Click the above photo to enlarge.
Jackson was treated on the scene by EMT's, then she received 29 stitches
to close the 4 gashes at Christi Oklahoma Regional Medical Center at
Ponca City. Kay County Investigating Officer, Deputy Michael Kent, met
with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) Game Warden
Tracy Daniel at the hospital where they observed Jackson's wounds and
agreed they were from a medium size cat scratch.
Two weeks previously Jackson saw the same animal running across
the road in front of her as she was driving home. "I had to lock it up
to keep from hitting him," she said. Earlier that same day, she had noticed
the large cat in a nearby field. Those sightings had prompted her to contact
Daniel, who in turn contacted some trappers to try to catch the animal.
About September 11, 2002, Jackson saw the cougar again in her yard, drinking
from a water bucket by an old windmill. During that sighting, the
cat ran a short distance, jumped a fence, and then stood and looked at her.
She picked up a bunch of apples and threw them at him. September 13, 2002,
Kay County Undersheriff Buddy Thomas said that Carl Clapp,
of Cedar Vale, Kansas, was called to the scene with his hunting dogs.
"We're not going to take any chances if there's an animal out there. If we
see any sign of the cat, maybe we can do something about it." Thomas also
said that the sheriff's office has received reports of big cats in the same
Arkansas River valley east of Newkirk, but the reports have never been
substantiated. Despite many previous reports, Thomas said the cougar encounter
was an "unusual happening, not common around these parts." Others further
speculated that because the cat seemed accustomed to humans, this could be
a feral cat--one released or escaped from captivity, now wild.
Despite game warden Daniel's claim that their department hasn't been able to
substantiate cougar presence in Oklahoma from numerous sightings, the presence
of cougars in Oklahoma has been verified, with two cougar kills in recent
years in Cimarron County. One cougar was hit by a vehicle three years ago,
and another was shot by a landowner in his yard last spring.
Sources: (Rural Newkirk Woman Victim Of Cougar Attack;
The Newkirk Herald Journal; Wayne White; 09/26/2002)
(K-State Research and Extension News; K-State to Record Kansas Puma Sightings;
Kathleen Ward, Communications Specialist; 10/15/2002)
26 September. Man shoots mountain lion about to pounce fleeing
wife and border collie.
See this pet attack, human non-injury report
(2 Injury Reports,
including the death of an Arkansas woman,
1 Non-injury Report)
03 May. Probably at about 5:00 p.m.
41-year-old Leigh Ann Cox was killed by a large cat near Leslie,
Arkansas, in the Chimes area of the Ozarks. Details of this incident
are still unresolved, since a willful coverup by officials
about her death appears to have occurred as noted independently by neighbors, medical workers, other citizens in the
area and across the nation, biologists, lawyers, journalists, and wildlife
authors. From everything I have read about Leigh Ann's wounds and injuries,
I am left with more questions than answers about what really happened, and I truly
wish officials had been more forthcoming. That they acted more adversarial than
with good investigative procedures can be used to caution other researchers (in what
some have called "environmentally correct" times) that they might expect similar
treatment from officials, as lesser coverups and dismissals of predator activities
seem to be quite common in most states and provinces. For this reason, and
because of the evidence I have heard and seen, details of how
Leigh Ann Cox died will be written on this confirmed attacks page for
you to make your own conclusion.
Click photo to read a touching biography of Leigh Ann.
Between about 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. neighbor George Morton and his wife,
less than 1,500 yards (as the crow flies) from the Davison's rural residence
where Leigh Ann was living, heard an agitated voice seeming to retreat from
their hearing. They did not recognize this as a distressed sound, thinking it
more like the sound a youngster playing tag would make. Upon later reflection,
they realized these were probably Leigh Ann's cries as she ran from the
At 9:57 p.m. Morton, an EMT, responded to the call reporting the discovery of
Leigh Ann's body by her brother-in-law and sister, the Davisons, who had just
returned after visiting neighbors. He arrived
on the scene at about 10:10 p.m., and the ambulance and other rescue people
arrived about 10:30 p.m. When Morton got to the remote Davison residence,
Ken Davison, an ex-police officer, had shot two of his five dogs, believing
they were the only possible explanation for her death, as wildlife officials
had insisted over and over to many individuals in the Chimes area,
that despite numerous reports of sightings, no cougars were in Arkansas.
Morton, intensively trained for 6 months in jungle warfare by the military,
including graphic education regarding tiger, water buffalo, and snake attacks,
recognized what he believed were the signs of cat involvement within seconds
of examining Leigh Ann's
body. Leigh Ann's scalp had been ripped off, apparently from the front to the
back, almost in one piece from her forehead to the nape of her neck. She had
slash marks that Morton and expert dog witness Darren Huff both identified
as typical of a large cat but impossible for a dog or dogs to make. From a
cell phone conversation with Huff, I understood him to say her neck was
broken but her throat not torn. From EMT experience, Morton also thought
her neck was broken and her trachea probably crushed both from the
angulation of the neck and from the fact that she bled very little,
indicating a sudden death. Both Morton's observations and later forensic
photos revealed almost no blood loss by Leigh Ann, mercifully indicating
that she had died almost instantly--again, typical of a cougar attack while
dog victims usually bleed to death, according to Huff. Morton's training and
my research have shown breaking the neck to be a common big cat method, while
attacking dogs tend to tear the throat. Morton convinced Davison to cease
shooting his dogs and to examine them for blood or injuries. Davison did
this and found neither blood nor injuries on his dogs (including the two
he shot) or in their mouths, and he left the remaining two old black labs
and a younger mix alone.
Though Morton pointed out the evidence, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
(AGFC) official, Jay Hagans, rationalized every point and continued to
implicate the dogs. Later it was revealed that the majority of sheriff's
deputies agreed with Morton. Still, the sheriff sided with Game and Fish
to try to prove that the Davisons' dogs were responsible. Perhaps because
of national attention that they were made aware of, the sheriff's office
conducted enough investigation (teeth impressions from the three living dogs
and forensic examinations of the two dead dogs) to clear the dogs. In addition
to having to deal with officials ignoring evidence not pointing to a
dog attack and even apparently "losing" crucial photos of probable cougar
tracks, the newspaper in nearby Clinton,
(The The Van Buren County Democrat),
did not hesitate to run
about the bereaved Davisons that reflected Game and Fish's biases, apparently
without examining the data in the case independently. By contrast, the
(This link may crash older browsers) in
Little Rock reported much more objectively.
According to the Davisons, an employee within the State Medical Examiner's
office said (let it slip?) on the phone (06/02/2003) that the final medical examination
of Leigh Ann concluded that she died from "blunt force trauma."
Though officials claimed unwaivering certainty about the cause of death from
the outset, 10 months later the Davisons still got nothing written about
the "official" cause of death, even though a coroner's report is required
to be released to them by law. Concerned people in the area who heard about
the failure of the Medical Examiner's office to release the required report
to the family in a timely manner had more reason to doubt Arkansas
officials and suspect a coverup.
After this "finding" of blunt force trauma from the Medical Examiner's office
was revealed to the family, the Van Buren County Democrat again ran
an article 07/23/2003
harshly critical of all those questioning the dog attack theory. Still,
apparently with no independent, inclusive investigation, the Democrat
insisted the "official finding" remained that Leigh Ann "was killed by dogs."
Everything else reporter Roger Smith broadly branded rumor, including
the "blunt force trauma" stated by the Medical Examiner's office and
the "broken neck" suspected by
two trained individuals. Without questioning why Huff had
been called multiple times to testify in other cases (probably at the
prosecutor's behest?) Smith also reported that Deputy Prosecutor Stephen
James said the expert dog witness Darren Huff was less than "expert."
From notes she has written throughout each day since the attack, apparently
Game and Fish biologist Eddie Linebarger told Leigh Ann Cox's sister
"Even if you prove that a big cat was present at the scene, at the time
that your sister was killed, it is irrelevant. The report is going to
say that it was a dog attack" Then he added, "Do you understand what I
am saying?" When she persisted, he said, "It is much easier for us to
deal with a domestic animal attack than a wild animal attack."
And he again added, "Do you understand what I am saying?" Combined with
earlier Game and Fish officials' denials such as "there are no cougars in
Arkansas" and their failure to investigate the evidence, at this time,
Linebarger's words left her with little to believe but that G&F was
deliberately covering up the cat attack. She had first thought,
as would any trusting citizen, that G&F was merely ignorant of lion signs
and sightings in her area and of what the tracks around Leigh Ann's body
were that she had photos of and that experts had assured her were cougar
tracks. She was left to think that she had been naively trying to "educate"
people who, instead, had an agenda.
Morton urged everyone to use care to preserve evidence at the scene, but most
trampled heedlessly around as they gathered the body, scalp, etc. After the
investigators and rescue people had left, another neighbor, Brent Muse
(retired military intelligence and security officer) looked around the scene
with a flashlight and found several very large cat tracks. These were found
about eight feet from where the body had lain near the small brush pile Leigh
Ann had made that day and where they had found her scalp with sticks and leaves
raked over it.
Now about 3:00 a.m., again Morton was called over with his 35 mm camera.
Using a spotlight and tape measure, they took photos of the tracks. Turned in
to Sheriff Scott Bradley's office the next day, they mysteriously disappeared
there. Either from photos of these prints or others found nearby and casted by
the Davisons, the assistant curator at the Memphis Zoo
identified these tracks as a cougar's.
In the daylight the next day the Davisons noted signs the body
had been dragged about 30 feet. Both dragging the body and caching parts
under such as sticks and leaves are typical of cougar behavior, not dog
George Morton believed the sheriff would investigate the scene the next
day in the daylight and examine the empirical evidence gathered,
and that the medical examiner could be relied upon to examine the DNA as
promised. None of this happened, so he now feels that the sheriff and Game
and Fish have lost all credibility. In addition, after visiting the
grieving Davisons two days after Leigh Ann's death (May 5), he personally
saw a large cougar about 300 yards from where Leigh Ann was found. Locals
report that lions often return about every other day to feed on a kill.
He returned to the Davisons and they immediately reported this to officials.
Nobody came out that day, and nobody returned their calls. When a resident
Janet Orange about 4 miles away called to report sighting a lion the morning
of July 10 outside her home, a Game and Fish official asked rhetorically,
"What do you want me to do about it?" Within days, at midday, the mail lady
saw a lion run across the highway. Again, no response from officials.
For the safety of everyone in the area, it is very regrettable that
officials seemed to conduct such a sloppy investigation. One thing they
certainly must have been aware of is truly astounding to anyone not
living in Arkansas, something that complicates the issue further.
A biologist who is an expert on cougars (contacted through the Davisons'
efforts, not by any officials) felt some of the bite marks
on Leigh Ann's body were too large to have been made by a cougar. Before
concluding that dogs were the likely killers of Leigh Ann or even a
bear or a human, one must
consider the very alarming facts surrounding escaped African lions in
the area. Just a little more than 7 months previous to Leigh Ann's death,
at least 4 African lions were found to be on the loose in the area of Quitman,
Arkansas, less than 45 miles from the Davisons. The
about this left great uncertainty that only the 4 lions that had to be shot
were all that had been released or escaped late in September of 2002.
In addition, the property from which they were suspected of escaping was
said to be poorly fenced, so no assumptions can be made that other escapes
have not occurred. The news articles indicated no charges had been filed
against anyone regarding the escaped African lions, and no indication
was given that officials had required more secure fencing at the "lion
and tiger farm." This is but one more sign that lax, negligent, and/or biased
procedures may be the rule, rather than the exception, in the area.
More official actions occurred that continue to raise doubts to those
examining them. Soon after Leigh Ann's death in early May, concerned for
their safety from a large cougar seen in the area, as well as for their
neighbors' safety, the Davisons applied for a depredation permit which
was denied. One has to wonder why they were denied when others report
getting such fairly easily. As a further frustration, the Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission did not reply with
until September 17, 2003. Two months after Leigh Ann's death, with
controversy swirling and national attention focused upon her case,
the AGFC issued a
covering their former repeated denials of cougars in the area. Apparently, they
reversed their position, now admitting that through known
(to the AGFC!?!) releases of captive mountain lions, breeding populations
of cougars might exist in Arkansas. Since cougars are known to be
in adjoining Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri, one wonders why the possibility
of their migration from any of these states to Arkansas was overlooked/omitted.
regarding the suspiciously timed Position Statement by Arkansas
resident, Dave Foley, that addresses its (purposely?) confusing/misleading
wording but asks questions raised here in a light-hearted but direct manner.
Of course, Foley never received an answer to his questions from anyone at AGFC.
Why the silence? Was the timing of the Position Statement release coincidence
or just another means of covering for AGFC's errors/complicity in Leigh Ann's
In August, 2003, I sent
a letter listing concerns brought to my attention
about the Leigh Ann Cox investigation with copies to Arkansas
state and local officials, including involved and responsible AGFC officials;
the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general of Arkansas; the two
senators and the representative for the state of Arkansas; Sheriff Scott
Bradley; and the State Medical Examiners Office. I made it clear that I
planned to detail these concerns online where they could be read
nationally and internationally. I hoped to hear from recipients presenting
their side, including AGFC's Eddie Linebarger and Corporal Jay Hagans,
and the Van Buren County Sheriff, Scott Bradley. I got no responses from
AGFC or Van Buren County officials. In fact, out of over 50 letters sent,
I received only three responses--one from the governor's office, one from
the office of Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln, and one from Representative
John Boozman. Each suggested I contact AGFC! The silence from AGFC and others
directly involved was deafening. Arkansas officials' own statements,
actions, and inactions, taken together, were what began people
questioning their investigation of Leigh Ann Cox's death. The absence of any
response from them to concerns about how they conducted their
investigation can only produce more mistrust. The most extreme doubters
wonder if wildlife officials actually introduced cougars to Arkansas
while denying to vulnerable lay residents that any big cats roamed freely
in the state. Officials fostering this kind of doubt is not healthy
if there is any way they could respond reassuringly regarding their
honesty and/or allegiance to public welfare. Their refusal to respond at
all is justifiably disturbing.
Sources: (phone calls and/or e-mails from George Morton, Carl Felland, Jane
Williams, Barbara & Ken Davison, and neighbors preferring to remain anonymous)
(Renowned biologist E. Lee Fitzhugh, cougar expert)
(The Online Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
(This link may crash older browsers); Excerpts here:
They say mountain lion to blame, want review of evidence;
by Cathy Frye; 05/08/2003 and Researcher sees signs of
cougars, Wildlife officials skeptical of theories about big cats? return by Rodney Bowers; 07/05/2003)
(Scans of The Van Buren County Democrat's
first two articles demonstrating bias
and third article with unprofesionally harsh--judgmental--bias)
(Memphis Zoo Assistant Curator, Houston Winbigler's
regarding cougar tracks at the death scene )
(Expert dog attack witness Darren Huff's
statement regarding forensic photos from the sheriff)
FOUR LIONS KILLED IN ARKANSAS--Ark. Town on Edge After Lions Killed;
By Douglas Pils; September) (AP-NY-09-23-02 1712EDT KFOX 14 El Paso, TX;
The Log Cabin Democrat of Conway, Arkansas;
Lions put Quitman into turmoil--Four animals on loose shot to death ;
Monday, September 23, 2002)
(AGFC Mountain Lion Position Statement; Nancy S. Ledbetter,
Director of Communications, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; 07/18/2003)
(Gilbert, Arkansas resident's comments regarding the AGFC Position Statement;
Dave Foley; 08/06/2003 6:10 a.m.)
13 May. 30-year-old Chris Kerzman, an information analyst for
the city of Fort Worth, Texas, was attacked by a mountain lion around
8:30 a.m. on the Chisos Basin Loop Trail
in Big Bend National Park
about 100 miles south of Alpine, Texas.
He saw the back end of a mountain lion go across the path and was "really
excited because most people never see one." But he stopped and waited a few
minutes to let it move on before he started walking cautiously, more slowly,
and more attuned to sounds. After a short distance, he saw the lion
again, crouched in some bushes, watching him. (Click on above image to see
full photo including minor leg wounds.)
She didn't make any aggressive moves, so he hoped if he didn't move too
fast, he'd be OK. He felt safer after getting out of her sight, but just
as his comfort level rose, so did his pulse, as the mountain lion was
charging at him. Kerzman yelled and raised his arms to make himself
look bigger which stopped the lion about 25 feet from him. She looked
at him "kind of curiously" then moved back up the hill. Kerzman picked up
a rock, weighing 3 or 4 pounds, and a large stick and decided to back-track
the mile long trail to the ranger station. He next saw the lion lying under
a mesquite tree, but she didn't look interested anymore. She proved to be,
however, as she charged again and again, coming closer to Kerzman each time.
She got so close that he could see her drawing up her lips,
and he could even smell her.
Kerzman maintained as much eye contact as possible with the lion
during his 20 minute ordeal, as this slowed her approaches. The stalking
lion kept trying to get above him, and she would move a lot farther each
time he would go around a switchback and lose sight of her, trying to get
position on him. Finally, the lion struck Kerzman's right calf and knocked
him down. As she moved in, Kerzman hit her in the head several times with
the rock. Again she retreated, stopping a short distance away, licking
Kerzman's blood on her lips. She followed him 50 yards, and then she
With blood pooling in his sneaker, Kerzman walked back to the lodge.
He told the rangers and a park biologist what happened. He was treated by a Park medic for his leg and
hand wounds, given a tetanus shot, and released.
The rangers closed the hiking trails and campsites and used dogs to find
the mountain lion. They came the same night and got him to identify the animal
that they tracked and shot. It was an old and emaciated female, missing
two canine teeth essential for successful hunting. When trails reopened
new restrictions were in effect: No hiking alone and no children under
12 allowed. Some remote campsites remained closed until further notice.
Sources: (The Fort Worth Texas Star-Telegram;
Hiker recalls mountain lion fray;
Chris Vaughn; 05/16/2003) (Houston Chronical;
Mountain lion at Big Bend Nation Park killed;
Associated Press; 05/15/2003)
(San Antonio Express-News; Park trails reopen after lion is killed;
From staff and wire reports; (830) 905-7387; 05/16/2003)
(National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Ranger Activities Division;
The Morning Report; Mark Spier, Chief Ranger; 05/15/2003)
12 November. Neighbor of Leigh Ann Cox (above) stalked by large cougar. See this non-injury report
(4 Injury Reports, including the death of an adult, male, California
Approximately between noon and 2:00 p.m.
35-year-old Mark Jeffrey Reynolds,
of adjoining Foothill Ranch, California, a 5' 9" 135 pound
competitive mountain bike racer, was killed by a mountain lion
while biking on a section of trail known as Cactus Ridge Run at
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in southern Orange County. His bicycle was
later found with the chain broken (off). Jim Amormino, a spokesman
for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, speculated that Reynolds was
attacked as he was fixing his bike.
For informed speculation regarding Mark Reynolds' attack, which was
aided by an anonymous but resourceful man who contributed insights after
examining the trail where Mark was killed, together with area news accounts,
see my coauthor Tom Chester's report of this incident by clicking
When another cyclist, Nils Magnuson, first found Reynolds's bicycle, he
was about to look for Reynolds but was interrupted by the women's
outcries on the trail ahead. (Mountain bikers crash fairly frequently,
so finding a crashed bicycle is not an unusual occurrence. It is
customary to stop and render aid to crashees.) After the attack on
Anne Hjelle (below), Reynolds' body was spotted by the rescue helicopter
crew higher on the trail than where Hjelle was attacked. Reynolds had
apparently been dead for a few hours, and his body had been half-eaten
and partially buried, typical of a mountain lion kill.
Read what friends, co-workers, and employers said about well liked
and respected Mark Reynolds
Anne Hjelle - BEFORE
Click photo for AFTER views
About 4:15 p.m. Anne Hjelle, 30, of Santa Ana, California,
a 5' 4" former Tustin Marine who works as a fitness instructor, was jumped
by the same mountain lion! Hjelle was attacked and taken to the ground a short
distance down the trail from Reynold's body, which was not visible to her,
while she was riding her mountain bicycle. She said that the lion attacked the back
of her neck below her helmet and quickly worked its jaws toward her face.
She felt its fangs open and close, shifting slightly each time, angling for
her throat and the kill. Her instincts took over, and she struck back,
punching the animal in its face but unable to strike its body. Later, in the
hospital, doctors found that her hands and knuckles were black and blue from
so much fighting.
When she realized a cougar had attacked her, Hjelle reports,
"My first words were 'Jesus, help me.'" She explains this
was not a quip, but a conscious cry for help.
Despite her efforts and some protection from her helmet,
the lion quickly had the left side of Hjelle's face in its
mouth. Anne said she felt like
a rag doll in the lion's grip. Her riding companion, 47-year-old
Deborah Nicholls, credits the helmet for helping to save her friend's life,
but Nicholls' heroism in grabbing and holding onto her friend was certainly a
Once he started clamping down, Hjelle
remembered thinking, "This is it. I'm going to die." She said she didn't
feel pain at the time. She felt just the strength of the cougar (by her
description, equal to 10 men). It was at the time that the cougar tore
away at the flesh on her face and neck, ripping her left ear from her skull
and folding the left side of her cheek over her nose, Anne recalls
briefly thinking that she wanted to die. "I knew that he just basically
tore my face off, and I remember thinking to myself, kind of wondering
Do I want to live because I knew he just destroyed my face."
knew her time was running out, but suddenly she heard her friend Debi
screaming incredible obscenities. The profanity startled her because
she had never heard her religious friend swear. Then she felt Debi
pulling hard on her left leg, as both women were dragged deeper into the brush.
Nicholls had been about 30 feet behind
Hjelle and witnessed
the attack. She jumped from her bike, and threw it at the lion.
Then becoming bloody and breathless, she literally wrestled it to save
Hjelle, kicking its flanks and screaming at it. She chased after the
cat as it dragged Hjelle into the ravine. She just kept
screaming and finally caught up with it. She grabbed Anne's
left leg, vowing, "I'm not going to let you die," as the lion
dragged both of them 30 feet down the slope into the brush.
Anne felt Debi pulling hard on her left leg, trying to free
her from the beast. In this vicious tug-of-war, Anne was the
rope, and she didn't think she would survive. She tried to say
good-bye to Debi, who refused to listen. "I just told her,
'I'm never letting go,'" Debi said.
Further up the trail, Diego Lopez, 35, of Aliso Viejo,
Dwayne Jenkins, Nils Magnuson, 33, of Long Beach, and
Mike Castellano, 41, of Dana Point heard the cries.
When he heard a scream from one of the two women riding ahead of him,
Magnuson had already stopped to investigate Mark Reynolds' abandoned
bike alongside the trail. When he reached the scene, he saw Hjelle's
head in the mountain lion's mouth. "All I could see was her body,"
he said. "I couldn't see her head at all. It was a big one; I'm
freaked." Mike Castellano commented, "I have never seen anything like
this -- it was a tug of war between the mountain lion trying to drag her
down the ravine by her face and another cyclist who had her by the legs."
Running into the shrubs after the two women, the men began throwing
softball-sized rocks and yelling at the lion. Lopez said,
"I hit him square in the face, he let go and took off."
As Anne began to black out, she wondered why she wasn't seeing
her life flash before her eyes or a tunnel of light. When she awoke
some thirty seconds later, the lion was gone and Debi was kneeling
near her. Anne felt like she was drowning in blood, so she tried
to sit up and clear her throat. Then she focused on slow, deep
breaths. She wanted to stay calm and maintain control. Even with part
of her face hanging down like a loose flap, she couldn't quite
comprehend it. "You know," she said softly five years later,
"it's so surreal still."
The men carried Hjelle
out of the ditch and onto the trail as she
murmured for someone to call her husband, James. "She kept saying,
'This is unbelievable,'" said Castellano. Another biker, Jeremy
Collins, 32, of Huntington Beach finally got through on his cell
phone to 911. Hjelle was airlifted to Mission Hospital. It required
approximately 200 stitches/staples to close the severe facial wound,
and surgeons had the difficult but successful task of reattaching
severed nerve branches to their endings. In addition, she had 40 bite
wounds to her neck, most of which Anne says were several inches deep,
including one that went through tissue far enough to touch her vertebral
column. Her condition was upgraded from critical to serious as of early
January 9th and then upgraded to fair as of the morning of
January 11. A fund to help with her recovery costs was set up. Five
years later (09/2009) she was still considering more plastic surgery.
Later that night, Sheriff's deputies shot and killed a healthy [includes not rabid]
2-year-old, 110-pound male lion, which was spotted 50 yards from the location of
the man's body. Also that night, a second 80 pound female mountain lion in
the area was hit by a car and killed. Both lions were tested for general
health and to see if either participated in the attacks. Results of these
tests were that the lion at the scene attacked both humans within mere
hours. Nether the age nor health of the second lion was reported in
any of the accounts that I saw. That two lions would be killed within
hours of each others is another exceptional and unusual occurrence.
All of these events had experts speculating.
Sources: (The Orange County Register; Cougar attack kills man /
Bicyclists rescue woman mauled by the mountain lion. Authorities track
and shoot the cat.; Bill Rams, Jum Radcliffe, Jim Finkle, and Tony Saavedra;
Page 1 and Page 4; 01/09/2004) (Los Angeles Times CALIFORNIA Orange County
Edition; Tests Link Slain Lion to Fatal O.C. Attack /Human tissue found
in the stomach. A woman's rescue site is called 'a battle scene.'; David Reyes;
Page B1 and Page B9; 01/11/2004)
(SignOnSanDiego.com 01/09/2004, 10:30 pm)
(L.A. Times 01/09/2004, A1)
(CBS News / AP, 01/09/2004)
(KNBC-TV News Report, 11 pm, 01/08/2004)
(L.A. Times 01/09/2004)
(NBC News, 01/08/2004)
(The Houston Chronicle;
Cougar victim recalls "unreal" attack
By Greg Hardesty; Copyright 2004, The Orange County Register; Santa Ana, California; 05/04/2004, 8:37PM)
Anne Hjelle Survives Mountain Lion Attack;
Provided by The Survivors Club; 09/2009)
Credit: I thank Rick Richardson from the
Carlinville, Illinois, area for first informing me of these two Orange
County, California, attacks as well as for sending information about other
26 June. 27-year-old Shannon Parker of Santa Monica,
California, was attacked by a 2-year-old male cougar at about
6:15 p.m. near the Tulare County mountain community of Johnsondale,
California, about 15 to 20 miles north of Kernville. Shannon lost
her right eye and suffered injuries to her other eye and deep
lacerations to her right thigh.
Shannon was hiking with her boyfriend, 28-year-old Mathias
Maciejewski of Los Angeles, and two other friends,
Jason Quirino, 30, and Ben Aaron Marsh, 15, both of Los Angeles,
on a trail near the Johnsondale Bridge, which crosses the
north fork of the Kern River. The trail follows a steep, rocky
area up the west side of the river.
Shannon left the group to walk back toward the parking area. She was attacked
at a narrow area in the trail by a perilous 100 foot precipice.
When she began to scream, the others rushed to her assistance.
"They heard her scream, 'Get it off me. Get it off me,'" said
Brian Naslund, acting lieutenant for Kern County with the DFG.
Maciejewski used a knife to stab the mountain lion twice in the
shoulder, but it had little effect, Naslund said. Quirino or
Marsh went to get help while Maciejewski and the remaining hiker
threw rocks at the animal. "They hit it in the head a couple of
times with the rocks, it let her go," Naslund said.
The hiker who went to get help found a person in the parking area
who rushed toward Johnsondale, flagging down a Forest Service ranger,
said Margie Clack, a spokeswoman for Sequoia National Forest.
She said Parker was fortunate help came so fast: "There's no cell
phone service in that area. Sometimes we can't even get through on
the Forest Service radios." There are cabins in Johnsondale used as
weekend homes, but there are almost no permanent residents, stores
or businesses in the area. "It's surrounded by national forest land,"
Parker was taken by ambulance that Saturday night to an airport
near Lake Isabella in northeastern Kern County, where a helicopter
was waiting to fly her to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.
Doctors there stabilized her condition before sending her on to
UCLA Medical Center. By the following Tuesday her condition was
stable after treatment and reconstructive surgery.
The mountain lion left a trail of blood from the stabbings that had
failed to discourage the attack on Shannon. From the bloody trail,
Fish and Game officials and U.S. Forest Service rangers tracked the
mountain lion and found him in the area several hours after the attack.
"It appeared that it was still dazed from being hit in the head
with rocks," Naslund said. The authorities shot and killed the
lion because it was deemed a threat to public safety. The cougar's
body was taken to a DFG lab near Sacramento where it tested
negative for rabies but was found to weigh only 58 pounds, severely
underweight for a 2-year-old which should normally weigh about
80 to 100 pounds.
Apparently not believing that humans may simply be fair game for
hungry cougars, Martarano said it's unclear what prompted the
mountain lion to attack. He noted that the area where the attack
happened was devastated in July 2002 by the McNally wildfire,
which burned more than 150,000 acres in the Sequoia and Inyo
national forests and the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
Although the fire greatly reduced the amount of vegetation in
the steep, rocky terrain near the river where the attack took
place, new growth has sprouted and attracted deer and other
animals back to the burned areas, said spokeswoman Clack.
April 19, 2009, Walter Puciata of Ajo, Arizona, emailed me
this interesting addition to the above information:
My cousin and I probably saw the exact same cat that attacked
this lady. We were driving down from seeing the big Sequoia
trees almost 24 hours to the minute before Shannon
Parker was attacked. Ironically, I had just told my
cousin that this was the kind of environment and time
of day where we could expect to see a cougar cross the
road in front of us.
The moral, if any, to this aside is that paying
attention to one's feelings and/or instincts may not
be bad thing to do, especially when in an unfamiliar
situation. Many who have encountered cougars have
told me that they had to use their own best judgment
and that "official" defense cliches often did not work.
If you think you might encounter a wild predator,
Ten minutes later, there it was. I stopped the
truck, and we watched in awe as an unhurried, frail
looking cougar swaggered across the road and made
its way up the embankment where it disappeared like
smoke into the Manzanita undergrowth. Realizing that
we were blocking our lane of traffic, we turned back
to where we had just seen some RVers in the parking
area by the Johnsondale Bridge. They said they had
watched the animal come down the hiking trail and go
into the creek. Their dogs were barking at it which
caused it to bound up out of the river bed onto
I called the Forest Ranger after hearing of the
attack, and he felt the cat we saw had to have been
the one attacking Shannon Parker in that exact area
the next day. They are, after all, creatures of
habit and routine. It was a freaky premonition I
had, driving along that day, listening to Native
American flute music. You ought to have seen the
way my cousin looked at me after that cougar
appeared on the roadway.
Sources: (The Fresno Bee;
Tim Bragg; Hiker loses eye to big cat in Sierra
Mountain lion is later killed in Tulare County; 06/28/2004)
San Diego Union-Tribune;
*Mountain lion that attacked hiker was undernourished;
By Greg Risling, Associated Press; 06/28/2004)
(email from Walter Puciata, 04/19/2009)
14 August. In the broad morning daylight, 5-year-old Chance Stepanick of
Vermilion, Alberta, was jumped by a cougar just a few kilometers east of Jasper
National Park near Hinton, Alberta, but no alert was issued until 3 days later,
causing criticism. Also causing controversy, the Park was not closed because
the attack was just outside Park boundaries!
Provincial wildlife officer Chris Watson says his office was not called until some
90 minutes after the attack, hampering efforts to track the cougar. Watson admitted,
though, that the cougar was headed westerly
toward Jasper National Park's gate when tracked initially by two hounds. The dogs
lost the scent, and two more dogs were brought in later in the evening. Their failure
to pick up the scent made Watson and others confident the cougar had fled. As a result,
no public alert was issued, and the
area stayed open. Still Wes Bradford, Parks Canada wildlife conflict specialist, states,
"If the attack had occurred a few kilometres west, inside the park boundary,
a public alert would have been immediately issued and the area closed. We'd certainly
close that area to the public immediately. Then there'd be bulletins going out to our
communications group saying there's this cat in the area. Had it happened in the park, a
release would likely have gone out within four hours." In their defense, immediately
following the attack, officials started going door to door, advising neighbouring residents,
lodges, and campers in the areas closest to the incident. Notices were also aired on a
local radio station. Watson said he was satisfied that safety concerns had been met.
The Stepanicks and a group of friends had just pulled into a
campsite Saturday morning a few kilometres east of the Jasper National
Park boundary for a weekend of wilderness adventure on the area's
designated ATV trails. As the adults set up camp and prepared to head out,
the three boys circled the site impatiently, the younger boys on pedal bikes
and 8-year-old Bryce, on a motorized dirt bike. Suddenly, the younger boys came
pedalling back furiously to the adults, saying
they'd seen a tiger chasing Bryce. At first the father of Bryce and Chance, Rod
Stepanick, thought they were joking. But he said that it was probably only 10
seconds after that when the cougar came into the campsite and jumped on Chance.
Mr. Stepanick heard Chance scream and just turned his head in time to see the
silent, slinking cat make its leap. He and his friend Aaron Shaw didn't hesitate
to use the only weapons they had -- the boots on their feet.
"It took about eight times before it backed off. I remember kicking him about four
times," Aaron says, "About four or five. Then it was up against the trailer, and we
gave it a few more. Then it took off." The men were yelling, but the cat remained
silent. "It never made a sound," said Mr. Stepanick.
As the cougar slunk back into the bush, Mr. Stepanick realized his
third son had taken off on his motorbike. With no idea where the boy
was, the men grabbed axes and followed the cougar into the bush, only
breaking off when they were relieved to see the boy riding back up a road.
Aaron Shaw then went to notify Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials while
Mr. Stepanick took Chance to the hospital, where he was treated for scratches
and a couple bite marks on his back that didn't require stitches. The
cougar was said to be approximately the size of a German Shepherd. Perhaps
because this was a young, inexperienced cougar, but certainly because
the two fathers were willing and able to come to the child's rescue immediately,
the boy received only minor wounds. At the time of this report (8/19/2004)
the cougar had not been found to test it for rabies and other factors.
Because of this, I assume the boy will have to undergo rabies shots.
Watson estimated that there are three to four cougar sightings in the Hinton area
each year. Four years ago (2000) a cougar attacked a Hinton resident's dogs as he
was walking them on a golf course. In March of 1962 a six-year-old boy was attacked
in a residential area in Hinton. The boy survived his injuries, while the cougar was
eventually killed. So far this year, there have been 30 reported sightings in Alberta.
A cougar was sighted in Banff on Saturday. In March of this year (2004) 8-year-old
Maggie Heilig, who lives in Bragg Creek, west of Calgary, was stalked by a cougar as
she played in her back yard.
Sources: (The Globe and Mail;
Cougar's attack on five-year-old foiled;
Canadian Press; 08/17/2004)
(The Edmonton Journal with files from the Calgary Herald and The Canadian Press;
Boy, 5, survives cougar attack -
Alberta youngster lucky to be alive, wildlife official says;
Dana Borcea; 08/18/2004)
(The Calgary Sun;
Cat-quick on her feet - Bragg Creek family relives cougar scare;
By Nadia Moharib; 08/19/2004)
(5 Injury Reports, 6 Non-injury Reports)
April. Oklahoma man has probable second cougar encounter alone at night.
See this non-injury report
09 April. Peter Bysterveld, a 23-year-old, 210 pound, 6' 3" tall student at
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary, was attacked at about 4:30 p.m. MDT
by one cougar of a pair he and his friend Sarah McKay encountered while on the last leg of a
long hike. It was about 12-15 degrees C (54-59 degrees F) and sunny.
Sarah and Peter had been carrying on a conversation but perhaps not loudly enough for the cougars
to hear them before they approached where the 2 cougars were sitting among trees some 7 meters
(about 22-25 feet) ahead on Windy Point Trail in the Sheep River Wildlife
Sanctuary in Kananaskis Country (20 km west of Turner Valley which, in turn,
is about 30 km southwest of Calgary).
Once I noticed the cougars off to the side of the trail I began
to yell and make some noise. [One of them] then proceeded to run at me.
I looked for a rock or stick to defend myself but there was none to
be found. So then I proceeded to run down the trail [to] get the cougar
away from Sarah.
As Sarah watched in horror from behind a tree,
Bysterveld ran down the hill and lost his footing in a muddy patch at the bottom of the hill.
After I had fallen on my chest, the cougar pounced on the back of my left leg.
I had covered up my neck because I thought it would have gone for it instead of my leg.
I wrestled with it for awhile, approximately 1 - 2 minutes. When I felt it start to bite
into my left calf, I somehow managed to get it off before it sunk its teeth in too far.
The cat then looked a little stunned that it had been knocked off.
Reunited with Sarah, the injured Bysterveld, covered in scratches on his arms and the
bite to his leg, walked the last 5km back to the car and drove to the ranger station where
he called in the attack. Then he drove to the hospital to get checked out. Treatment
included a tetanus booster and subsequent rabies shots, as the cougars were not found.
At this time I got onto my back, with the cougar on its side, and took the
opportunity to grab its back 2 hind legs and then its front legs and toss it like a hay bale
for about 15-20 feet. I then proceeded to pick up a stick I found and started yelling at the
cougar again and waving the stick to make myself look big. The cougar looked at me with what
I thought was a surprised look on its face and took a couple of steps towards me. I kept
swinging the stick and yelling, and it then backed off and disappeared down in the gully on
the side of the trail.
I am not 100% sure how I got a hold of all the cougar's legs. I do
have some big hands, and I did grab up a little ways on the leg so it
was not right on the paw. I am sure that my hand was not interlocked
around the other side. It was just basically enough to get a decent
hold that it could not squirm out of and which I could use to toss it
away from me quickly. That's about all I really remember because it
happened so fast that it just seemed like the best thing to do at the
time. I didn't have much time to be scared. I was just trying to survive.
I didn't want to be taken down by a cat. I think being bigger helped,
and I think he was shocked that I picked him up and threw him.
I then proceeded to walk backwards down the trail for awhile until I was
convinced that the cougar was not stalking me. I then ran to catch up to Sarah.
I am still not sure why the cougar attacked, the only reasons I can
come up with are that it might have been startled as we came up on it
along the path. It could have smelt the lunch meat I had in my
backpack, but it was in a sealed plastic bag in the backpack. The last
reason I can think of is it might have been really hungry because it
had not been able to kill anything lately but, I am not to sure on that
one. But I am very sure the cougars were not stalking us at all.
Bysterveld estimated the cougar weighed about 70 pounds, about the size of a small golden retriever.
The other cougar was not seen again but seemed about the same weight and age. Wildlife officers
closed the area where the attack occurred to track the animals, but as of 04/12/2005
Bysterveld believed the search had been called off.
Sources: (Phone interview with Peter Bysterveld, 04/11/2005 and 2 emails,
04/12/2005 / 4/13/2005)
(The Edmunton Sun;
Student fights off cougar attack;
Nadia Moharib, Sun Media; 04/11/2005)
Hiker fends off cougar; 04/11/2005)
23 June. New York couple have a close encounter with a cougar in Utah.
See this non-injury report
A 54-year-old female tourist from Berlin, Germany, was attacked by a cougar at the
Spruce Bay campground on Victoria Lake near Port Alice on Victoria Island, BC, Canada,
on Friday afternoon (about 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
according to Nanaimo area Conservation officer Gerry Brunham). The female tourist
attacked had been sitting at a bench in front of her RV, drinking coffee, and her
friends were inside the vehicle. The friends saw the cougar from inside the camper.
They began to shout a warning to her. As she stood up, the cougar came up slowly from
behind and jumped on her back. She fell down and the cougar grabbed her head with its
claws but did not bite her. Her husband, who was close by, hit the cougar with a stick
until it left his wife and hid under the trailer. Because of her husband's quick
action to defend her, she escaped with
minor injuries. She was treated at the Port Alice hospital and released the same
afternoon. Dr. Keith Symon of the Port Alice Health Center said she had a few stitches
to her finger, ear, and eye. This was the third time he has treated victims of a cougar
attack in the Port Alice area. Unfortunately for researchers, Local RCMP would not
release the names of any of the four tourists involved in the incident, including the
Local eyewitnesses Ted Harris and Bill Williamson described the cougar as a
probable female, approximately three years old, 80 to 100 pounds, with a tawny
coat and fluffy tail. These two commercial fisherman had been out on the water
and had just checked Harris's cabin in the area. When they landed at the beach
at Spruce Bay, Harris reported that they initially thought they were being
greeted by the friendly campers. The victim's husband was yelling "lion,
lion." When the fishermen didn't immediately understand, he began pointing
to his RV calling out "puma." They then understood that he meant a cougar.
In limited English he told the men his wife had just been attacked and was now
in the RV. What they didn't immediately realize was that the cougar was still
under the RV while they talked. When Williamson walked behind the RV towards
the dock to view the underside of the vehicle, he saw that the cougar was still
there under the back axle. He called out to Harris who started to pelt the cat
with rocks. They threw five or six rocks. At first it didn't move, then it took
off into the bush.
As an explanation for the attack, Officer Gerry Brunham said that they currently
had low prey populations, with deer populations at their all time low, so it was
a struggle for predators to find prey. From its track size, Brunham surmised the
attacking cougar was a juvenile cougar rather than about 3-years-old as reported
by eyewitnesses Harris and Williamson. Revealing a probable lack of objectivity,
he went on to sympathize with such a juvenile in search of food. Possibly because
none of the German tourists spoke English fluently, more discrepancies in the
report from Brunham's were apparent. He said the victim had just read pamphlets
on what to do if encountering a cougar, but says she didn't have time to react with
any aggression, since the cougar attacked her so swiftly after she first spotted
it about 30 meters away as it started to walk toward her. Brunham said she did try
backing away slowly, but it swiftly jumped on her, sinking its claws into her head
and shoulders and slamming her to the ground. Conservation Officer Greg Kruger was
called out with the cougar hounds and searched for the cougar Friday night.
Brunham searched the next day. Since the cougar was not found, it is probable
that the victim had to undergo rabies treatments. Signs were posted in the area
warning other tourists.
Sources: (CBC News;
Cougar attack triggers warning
plus a recorded interview of Gerry Brunham by Susan Elrington; updated 07/05/2005)
(The North Island Gazette;
Cougar attacks tourist;
Laura Goatham; With files from Christine vanReeuwyk? and Digital photos by Richard Hovde of Port Alice?; 06/30/2005)
22 July. Colorado Ranger menaced by 4 cougars. See this non-injury report
27 July. Four days after the attack, described as alert
but uncomfortable, four-year-old Hayley Bazille from Coquitlam,
B.C., continued recovering in the hospital from serious head injuries
suffered when a cougar pounced on her out of the trees in the middle
of a sunny afternoon with lots of people around. She was with her
family for an outing near the coastal village of Zeballos about 300
kilometres northwest of Victoria, B.C., Canada. The pre-schooler was
perhaps running alone after her older sister, Carlyn,
who had jumped out of the car first and headed down the short trail
(approximately a minute's walk) to the river far ahead of her sister.
Or perhaps Hayley was walking with her younger sister, as most
accounts said she was with her sister. Hayley had jumped out of the
car after Carlyn, but her father grabbed her because he was afraid
the "stubborn, independent, and free-spirited" girl would not wait for
her parents to bring her life jacket before jumping into the water.
The father, mother, and 3 sisters had planned 4 days of camping and
swimming in a remote stretch along the Kaouk River. At about 2:00
p.m., with the girls ahead of her, their mother followed.
People at the river began shouting about a cougar, and then Ms.
Bazille heard Hayley crying. Rushing down toward the cries,
Bazille passed two girls coming up, their eyes wide. She rounded
a bend and caught sight of her daughter about 10 metres away,
lying between some rocks. She didn't see the cougar at first
because it blended so well into the rocks. When she focused better,
was horrified to see a cougar over Hayley, her little girl's blood
on its muzzle. The cat was clawing at her face and neck, preparing
to crush her head. Hayley was fighting it, saying, "Get off me,
Get off me." The 40-year-old, 115-pound Ms. Bazille flew at the
cat and clubbed the animal with a drink cooler she was carrying.
"I grazed it on its shoulder, and it wasn't fazed. It kept its ground,
and it snarled and growled at me," she said. Ms. Bazille also stood
her ground "I was angry, and I said 'you get off of her.'" She was
screaming the whole time. When she launched a kick at the cougar,
it shied away and took off into the bush. Ms. Bazille said the attack
lasted between 30 seconds and a minute.
Her daughter was covered in blood, her scalp torn open right to
the skull. Not only had the cougar flayed her scalp, but it had raked
her skull with its teeth. An emergency room nurse at Lions Gate
Hospital in North Vancouver, Ms. Bazille knew immediately what to
look for. Though basically Hayley's scalp was gone, thankfully her
neck wasn't touched. She was bleeding badly and in shock. The mother
expertly wrapped her daughter's mutilated scalp, and the parents
drove to a nearby marina where a helicopter ferried mother and
daughter, first to a hospital in Campbell River, then to Vancouver.
"Without a doubt, her actions saved her daughter's life," conservation
officer Peter Pauwels said the following day. The mother credited the
girl's padded life-jacket, which her father Troy had insisted she put
on at their vehicle, with initially saving her life. It was heavily
scratched and had bite marks on it. In addition to her torso, doctors
said the jacket protected Hayley's neck and lower scalp.
Pauwels guessed the cougar might be younger, because it was described
as being smaller than a normal adult. "It was probably waiting by the
trail for something to come along," said Pauwels. Though approximately
one attack resulting in injury occurs per year in the area and deer
populations were well known to be "at their all time low" (see report
above) Pauwels continued to believe, "It's not normal behavior for
cougars. They shouldn't be doing that. There could be something wrong
with this animal." Though Paul Beier's
table of cougar accounts
and my further listings show most attacks on humans occur in daylight hours,
Pauwels appeared baffled by the timing of the attack saying, "It is highly
unusual. Cougars normally hunt between dusk and dawn, so this incident is
Conservation officers say it is difficult to track cougar figures in
the area because there are so many that sightings go unreported
by local residents very used to seeing the animals. Zeballos resident
Cheryl Brooks said she doesn't hike alone and is wary of the animals,
especially at night. "The danger is in the back of everyone's mind."
Officers with dogs were sent to track the big cat, but the search crews
attempting to track the animal said they were unable to find it in the
rough terrain. Perhaps revealing the searchers' lack of motivation to hunt
for the cougar scrupulously, 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.
When Hayley arrived at B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver, she
underwent surgery the same night for scalp and neck injuries.
Her plastic surgeon described putting the girl's scalp back together
like a puzzle. Dr. Cindy Verchere said the girl had hundreds of
connected lacerations on her scalp, but it looked as if she would
have minimal visible scarring there once surgery healed if they
could get most of the tissue to survive and heal well as the
scars on her scalp would be covered by hair eventually. Verchere
said Hayley had a long recovery ahead of her, but, save for one
scratch to her forehead, her face was mostly unscathed in the
attack. Hayley also suffered puncture wounds on her legs and
remained hospitalized in stable condition as of 07/31/2005. Her
mother issued a statement from the hospital warning other parents
to keep young children close by their side in remote or rural
areas, even if there are other people around. As soon as Hayley
ran ahead of her parents that day, some older children
emerged from the trail whom she overheard saying they had seen
a cougar. Ms. Bazille said she didn't believe them.
Sources: (Yahoo! Canada News; Reuters;
Cougar attacks girl on Canadian Pacific Coast;
(Yahoo! Canada News;
4-year-old girl in serious condition after Vancouver Island cougar attack;
(Canadian Press - Nanaimo;
Child 'doing well' after cougar attack;
(Canada.com - Vancouver; Times Colonist;
Cougar attack considered highly unusual - Daytime mauling seen as a sign food is scarce;
Chris Mason; 07/29/2005)
(Yahoo! Canada News;
Mother describes the horror of seeing a cougar attack four-year-old daughter;
Terri Theodore; 07/29/2005)
(The Globe and Mail;
Cougar no match for cooler of silver bullets;
Jane Armstrong; 07/30/2005)
(Victoria Times Colonist;
Mom watched daughter try to fend off cat;
Doris Sun; CanWest News Service with files from Canadian Press; 07/30/2005)
(Canada.com - Vancouver;
'Bad kitty bit me': Tot - COUGAR MAULING: Four-year-old recovering and in stable condition;
Ethan Baron, The Province; 07/31/2005)
02 August. Hunter and his brother stalked 2 hours near Merced, CA. See this non-injury report
08 August. At 8:45 p.m. 50-year-old Annette Hayes, a
nurse and nursing instructor at Pueblo Community College, was
bitten and scratched by a cougar as she sat on her deck with her
husband and dog at her home near Florida Mesa in the Durango
area in Southwest Colorado. The Hayeses moved to La Plata County
from Pennsylvania only about a year ago. Hayes and husband,
59-year-old David, were in identical high-back wicker chairs on
their hillside deck that overlooks the Animas River. They were
both looking west, watching the light fade over the hills across
the river. Jesse, their 13-year-old shepherd/husky mix who is deaf
and losing her sight, was at rest between them. Without warning,
Hayes felt weight on her shoulders and pain. "I jumped up and
screamed, 'Something got me' and I ran into the house," Hayes
said. "I could feel blood."
David Hayes, director of teacher education at Fort Lewis College,
caught a glimpse of something behind his wife, heard a thud and saw
the blood as Annette dashed by him. She went inside to stop the
bleeding, and David Hayes reported, "I didn't see anything on the
deck, so I looked over the edge and saw a mountain lion sauntering
down the steep embankment. I'd never seen a mountain lion, except
in photos, but this definitely was a mountain lion."
David Hayes said the entire incident lasted 30 to 40 seconds.
The couple then drove to Mercy Medical Center. Annette Hayes
suffered a puncture wound on her right cheek, a tear in her
right ear and two puncture wounds on her upper shoulder on the
left side. Hayes took antibiotics after the attack and began
rabies treatment - an injection of immune globulin and four
vaccine injections within 30 days--because the lion was not found.
After two rabies shots, she had to stop the regimen because
she developed an adverse reaction to them. "I'm thinking positive
because the incidence of rabies is low in the state," Hayes said.
"I'm hopeful that I have enough antibodies to fight off the virus."
Alerted by the hospital, Division of Wildlife rangers took two
packs of hounds to look for the mountain lion that night, said
Patt Dorsey, the agency's regional manager in Durango. The area
is hot, dry and rocky, not the best place to pick up a scent.
"We were there until 3 a.m.," Dorsey said. "We never found a
thing." District wildlife ranger Melody Miller visited the area
the next day and also could find no tracks or other signs of
the mountain lion.
"The incident is very unusual," Dorsey said. "If this cat had
meant to do harm, it could have and would have." Dorsey theorized
the mountain lion at the Hayes house could have had its eye on
Jesse or mistaken the movement of Annette Hayes' hair above
the chair back for a rabbit.
To avoid further incidents, the Hayeses have made sure that the
motion sensor lights around the house are working, and cut the
grass short so there is no place for a mountain lion to lurk.
Hayes said she also is more careful while taking her dogs for
walks. She keeps Lucy, a 14-week-old boxer puppy, on a leash
whenever she goes out. "The wounds inside are still healing,"
Hayes said. "I'm nervous because I still have to walk the dog
at night and let the puppy out at 6 a.m. when it's dark."
But she said she's not letting fear get to her. "It took a
while before I could go outside on the deck or go into the
yard, but it was a freak thing that happened. I don't let it
hem me in and not go on with life."
Sources: (The Durango Herald Online;
Local woman encounters a mountain lion - close up;
By Dale Rodebaugh, Herald Staff Writer; 08/21/2005)
(The Daily Sentinel - Grand Junction, CO;
Survivor of cougar attack appreciates life more now;
Tillie Fong, The Rocky Mountain News; 08/24/2005)
31 August. Lisa Nicholson of Port Hardy suffered a
minor puncture wound to her left leg at approximately 7:05 p.m.
when a cougar attacked her and her small "pug" dog in her front
yard on Beaver Harbour Road, Port Hardy, BC. Nicholson was
walking Mylo on his leash when she felt something at her left
leg. She turned to see what it was and found herself face to
face with a cougar. The young cougar had taken only one swat,
scratching both the woman and her dog, apparently with Mylo
being its main target. Mylo's blog reporting
The Story of What Happened
states that Mylo is about 13" tall at the top of his
shoulders and weighs 20 pounds. Lisa Nicholson is 5' 4" and
weighs 120 pounds. The cougar was a malnourished, female
yearling and weighed around 50 pounds.
With the cougar now standing between she and her home,
Nicholson tried to sort out her options. She remembered
advice to try to look big, not to run, and not to turn her
back on the cougar. She made noise by calling for her father
inside the house, but he couldn't hear her. She considered
trying to get into a vehicle, but thought they might be
locked. A basement entry into the house also might be locked.
Therefore, the pair moved slowly back from the cougar that
had her head lowered and was clearly eyeing Mylo. They
took a backward stepping path toward the boat shed at the
end of the driveway close to the house. After descending
a couple of steps to the driveway, and keeping eye contact
with the cougar the whole time, they reached the open wall
of the boat shed and began moving back toward the house
along it. When the cougar began to follow them down into
the shed, they broke the no running "rule" and dashed the
short distance from an opening back to the front stairs,
up them, and into the house without further incident.
It seemed to Lisa that going up towards her house was
a bit daunting for the cougar which might be why she didn't
give chase. Experts say running triggers the chase instinct,
but it is important to remember that each situation is
different, and one must use one's own wits and evaluations.
The cougar then ran under a table in the boat shed and
laid down. Lisa felt the cougar did this waiting for
them to reappear.
Port Hardy RCMP and Port Hardy Conservation Officers
attended the scene, and the Conservation Officer shot the
waiting cougar, wounding it in the right shoulder. The
cougar then ran from the boat shed into the thick brush
(350' wide greenbelt) in the back of the house facing onto
Storey?s Beach. The Conservation Officer called a hunter
with a tracking dog, and they started searching for the
cougar until after 11:00 p.m., but it was raining, and the
dog lost the cougar's scent. It was thought the dog was
thrown off the scent not only by the rain but by two
domestic cat carcasses the cougar had in her den behind
Nicholson's house. They continued their search in the
morning, and at about 10:30 a.m. they found the fatally
injured cougar under a log in the back woods, and they
put her down.
Neighbours in the area stated they had seen the cougar
days earlier, and a few residents were noticing small pets
such as cats were going missing. Nicholson had heard
about this, and that is why she was limiting Mylo's dog
walks to their front yard. She never imagined she would
run into it in her own front yard! After the attack,
Nicholson realized the racket the crows had been making
was probably due to the cougar's presence.
Nicholson received a tetanus shot at the Port Hardy
Hospital the evening of the attack and was given
antibiotics for about a week. Mylo was treated at the veterinarian's for 4 minor
scratches, one of which barely missed his eye.
Sources: (Castanet.net--Homepage for Kelowna, BC, Canada;
Cougar Attacks Woman & Dog;
Posted: September 01, 2005; 7:55 am; Story# 11884; Contributed)
(The North Island Gazette;
Cougar call ignored;
Teresa Bird, Gazette staff; 09/08/2005) (emails from Lisa Nicholson; 09/09/2005 and 09/10/2005)
The Story of What Happened (Crime Scene Investigation)
and view interesting photos that illustrate the escape route;
Milo the Brave; 09/07/2005)
16 September. PA man hunting deer in CO, while mountain
lion hunting him. See this non-injury report HERE
21 October. Idaho hunter charged. Cougar shot. See this non-injury report
(5 Injury Reports, 2 Non-injury Reports)
27 January. Texas camper surprises cougar which returns to stalk him.
See this non injury report
15 April. 7-year-old Shir Feldman of Rockville, Maryland, was
attacked by a 1- to 2-year-old, 80 pound, female cougar on the Flagstaff
Mountain Trail west of Boulder, Colorado at about 6:00 pm. The group,
including Shir's mother, father, twin brother and older brother had been
hiking in the Artist Point area near the top of Flagstaff Mountain and
were returning to the parking lot 50 yards from where the boy was attacked.
The child was with this group of seven adults and was walking hand in hand
with his father when the cat grabbed the boy.
"The dad was actually holding hands with his son at the time of the attack,
walking along the trail," said Tyler Baskfield with the Division of Wildlife.
The other members of the group yelled and screamed at
the cat and beat it with rocks and sticks. At this point
the cat released the victim.
The child received bites to the head and legs, and his jaw was broken,
but he was expected to make a full recovery. Shortly after the attack,
the child was taken from Boulder Community hospital to Children's Hospital
in Denver. The cat was captured and killed on the following morning (Sunday)
near the site of the attack. A necropsy was planned to determine if the
cat was healthy. Sources:
(WLTX-TV, Columbia, SC;
Mountain Lion Attacks Boy;
(Fox News 31; April 16, 9:00 pm MDT broadcast)
(ABC 7 news;
Md. Boy Attacked By Mountain Lion; Tuesday April 18, 2006 )
17 April. 6-year-old saves 5-year-old brother and self from possible attack. See this non-injury report
18 April. 59-year-old Pastor Alexander Schmidt, of Leavenworth,
Washington, was attacked by a
cougar while he and his wife were playing with their dog. Though I could
find nothing that made it to the internet, an author in the area informed
me that a Wildlife contact sent him this message, "Attached
is what happened. It's been all over the local news and King 5. They
have a video from the interview with the landowner.
Additionally, we enter the cougar reports as quickly as they come in
(within the 10 days). If we don't get 'em from the field, they're not
entered." I later found the abbreviated report from KPQ AM radio in
On Tuesday evening, a Leavenworth homeowner and his wife were playing with
their dog at their residence. Alexander
Schmidt (the injured party) said that he was throwing a stick for his dog in
their driveway when a cougar came out of some nearby brush and grabbed him
by his right leg, mid-calf. Mr. Schmidt's dog became agitated and Mr.
Schmidt grabbed the cougar as the cougar held onto his leg.
Sources: (Reported on King5; Seattle, Washington)
(KPQ Radio; 560 AM; Wenatchee, Washington;
Man recounts cougar attack;
After four or five seconds the cougar released Mr. Schmidt and the cougar ran
across the driveway, towards the Leavenworth golf course. Officer Graham
Grant and I responded and were on scene within 90 minutes or the incident,
with a hound hunter and his dogs. A search of the area that lasted two
hours failed to locate the cougar, we did locate more than a dozen raccoons,
and several domestic house cats. We were assisted by a Chelan County
At 0600 on Wed. I provided a live update for KPQ radio and I
focused on the fact that this was a juvenile cougar, it wasn't a focused or
dedicated "attack", but more like an event where the cougar was watching the
dog running, and barking, and became "interested" and broke from cover
without a real action plan. Much like a domestic cat will chase a ball of
yarn, the juvenile cougar didn't have the social skills to process the
Mr. Schmidt's injuries consist of some puncture wounds
and minor lacerations. He was treated and release at the
Leavenworth medical center.
We've chased and caught cougars before at the
Leavenworth golf course, and we've noted in the
past that the cougars seem to come into town in the
winter, following the deer, but they stay to feed
on the abundant raccoons. We're continuing to
monitor this, this is an area that is very urbanized,
and is not conducive to hunting by an extended hound
hunting permit. I'm planning on calling Commissioner
Goehner this morning, and I'll do a press release with
the Wenatchee World. T
Sgt. D. Ward
22-year-old Hugh Faust just wanted to sneak in some bird watching
before the post-graduation
parties at the University of Wyoming
in early May. The 5' 9", 135 lb student parked his SUV by the side of the
road in the Snowy Range and began a slow plod up a well-worn game trail
near Woods Landing. By the time Faust saw the mountain lion --
crouching and staring him in the eye -- he was just 30 feet from
the big cat. Hugh Faust's own account follows, written just 4 hours
after a cougar attacked him, Saturday, 05/06/2006, at approximately
12:30 pm in Medicine Bow National Forest, Sheep Mountain, Wyoming.
At around 12:10 PM I parked on National Forest land along a dirt
road (RD 47) that connects Albany Wyoming with Woods Landing.
I had my binoculars and walked up a little draw/gully that had
Sage on the left side (south side), and aspen, spruce/fir mix on
the right side (north side).
Faust did not seek medical treatment for a wound to his finger.
He felt it would heal on its own. Hugh was more concerned that when he
reported this story to the game warden, the warden's showed an apparent
lack of concern. Since this area is used by elk antler hunters etc,
Hugh felt this was a dangerous cat exhibiting unusualy aggressive behavior,
especially for a Wyoming cat (hunted heavily and normally very spooky).
I was on a fairly used game trail along the gully around 150 meters from my
car when a pine cone rolled down the hill and bumped into my shoe.
I thought that was odd because there was little wind. I dismissed it.
Two minutes later I heard two red squirrels giving alarm calls around 100
feet ahead (up the game trail). I stopped and thought, "They are either
calling at me, a snake, an owl, or a mountain lion, and if it is a Mtn. lion,
it is already gone."
Two minutes later and around 250-300 meters from the car in the draw I
stopped and looked up. I saw a Mtn. lion crouched very low staring at me
from about 30 feet away. I immediately ripped off my jacket (just a
button up work shirt) and binoculars, started yelling threw my binoculars
(hitting it in the head), and took three steps quickly towards it. It came
quickly down the slope and met me at the end of my third step, and gave a
swat that barely grazed the tip of my left ring finger. I simultaneously
broke an aspen branch across its side and back. It just spit at me, and
crept closer and really tensed up. I kept yelling at the top of my lungs,
swinging my jacket and hitting it with sticks and rocks.
When I hit the lion with an object it generally closed his eyes or simply
looked at the object as it bounced off, then immediately the cat returned
his focus to me. If I ever paused in yelling or waving my arms he would
stare much more intently, tense up, and his tail would twitch. I kept
hitting him with sticks and rocks while trying to slowly walk backwards.
He stayed from 5-8 feet from me this whole time, completely focused on me
and in a very low crouch.
I decided I would try and cross the gully and get into the sagebrush, and
away from the cover of the aspen and conifers. There was a little ditch I
had to jump across, and I couldn't jump over it backwards. So while still
yelling and flailing my arms I picked up two baseball sized rocks. I hit
him as hard as I could in the head with the first one, and immediately
turned and jumped the ditch. Upon landing I spun around yelling and hit
him with the second rock (he was already in the air jumping over the ditch
as well). He stopped again about 5-8 feet from me. I kept hitting it
with more rocks and slowly backed into the sage and farther up the hill
(but farther from cover). He followed in a stalk weaving through the sage
(trying to get a better angle of attack?).
Any time I turned my head a little it would move in very quick. When I
was around 100 feet into the sagebrush the lion started staying a little
farther back (40-50 feet). A few times I would turn and try to take a
few quick steps down the hill towards the car. When I turned around
it quickly had closed the distance to around 10 feet, but would stop
when I yelled and threw rocks. It was still in a full crouch each time
it crept in close. I continued to back down the hill (it was steep around
45 degrees) and it followed me all the way to the car but stayed around
40 feet back. I jumped in the car and could still see him in the sagebrush
I loaded my camera with film, and jumped out of the car and on the roof.
I scanned around for a few seconds but didn't see the cat, so I called it
a day and drove home and reported the incident immediately to the Wyoming
Game and Fish department.
The whole ordeal lasted around 10 minutes. The first five were in the trees
and a standoff. The second five, I was backing away from the cover and to
the car. The wind had been slight but blowing up the draw the whole time,
so I couldn't have surprised the lion. It looked to be in good condition
with no obvious injuries. It had good dentition and no broken teeth.
I would guess its weight at around 110-130 pounds. I do not know if it
was a male or female, but its size looked larger than female leopards
(I have worked with these cats in South Africa).
I kept eye contact throughout the whole ordeal, and feel I never scared
the cat at all, but did stop it from making the final pounce. I have
tracked leopards, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, African lions, and African
wild dogs on foot in South Africa and I have never seen any animal
this intent and persistent. I believe I almost walked into its ambush
and if I had not seen the cat it would have blindsided me from behind
or the side as I walked by. I honestly thought it was going to pounce any
second of the five-minute standoff, and believe it would have if I had
even flinched on the initial rush, or ever presented an opportunity.
I returned to the site two days later to get my binoculars. There was no
kill in the immediate area so I don't believe it was on one when we had
the run in. I found mountain lion tracks leading up the draw but on the
sagebrush side. This leads me to believe that after the encounter he
walked back up the draw on the opposite side of the ambush. And, yes,
I did find my binoculars.
Sources: (email from Hugh's mother, Lynn Frierson Faust; 05/20/2006)
(Water and Woods Net;
Student Fends Off Mountain Lion;
(the Casper Star-Tribune;
UW student fends off mountain lion; Jared Miller; 05/17/2005)
(The Jackson Hole Star-Tribune)
02 August. 78-year-old Ray Ferguson of Pima, Arizona, in Graham County
was at his farm west of town when he was attacked by a young, starving female
cougar, according to Diane Saunders' report in the Eastern Arizona Courier.
He was feeding a domestic cat and kittens who live there when he was
attacked by another cat -- a mountain lion -- who tried to make a meal
out of him.
"She came out from the salt cedar trees and latched onto my hand," Ferguson
said of the incident. At first, Ferguson thought the animal was a big
dog. Then he realized the animal he was trying to shake off was a mountain lion.
One has to wonder if Ms Freeman meant no OTHER confirmed accounts in
"I used the old tried and true method -- I screamed as loud as I could,"
Ferguson said. The big cat ran off, and Ray drove back home, his hand
He described the lion as "young, beautiful and starving to death."
Ferguson estimated she weighed about 60 pounds.
After an unsuccessful attempt to contact his doctor, he went to the emergency
room at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for treatment of the bite.
The wound required no stitches, but Ferguson learned he had to get
rabies shots because of the possibility that the lion was rabid.
Ferguson will not have to undergo a series of painful rabies shots in the
stomach. Today's shots are less painful and are given in the shoulder.
"They're not bad. They're like a flu shot in the shoulder," he said of the
six shots he must endure.
While Ferguson was being treated at the hospital, officials from the
Arizona Game and Fish Department searched for the mountain lion without success.
The following day, a neighbor shot and killed a young female mountain lion.
Tests show the animal did not have rabies. While Ferguson believes this
is the cat that bit him, there is no way to be certain, so he will complete
the series of rabies shots.
Ferguson said he has never seen a mountain lion at his farm, but others in
the area have seen them. Debbie Freeman, spokeswoman for Arizona Game and Fish,
said there have been no confirmed accounts of mountain lion sightings or
encounters by humans in Graham County within the last year.
Source: Eastern Arizona Courier;
Pima man recovering from lion bite;
By Diane Saunders; 08/22/2006
18 August. A probably young cougar attacked 4-year-old Paul Daniel Krismer
at about 8:00pm at Schoen Lake Provincial Park, 140 kilometers north of Campbell
River, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island near the town of Woss. Failing to find the
cougar, Conservation Officers speculated it was a one-year-old male in search of
food with Paul Daniel appearing to be easy prey as he was playing a few meters
away from his father who was fishing.
Paul Krismer fought off a cougar that had attacked his son, Paul Daniel, at a site near Campbell River Aug. 18.
"In my view, he saved his own life ... he hunched over and tucked his head in,
and that likely saved him," his dad told the media during a press conference
held adjacent to the playground in Comox Marina Park.
But the father played a major role. He heard a cracking sound behind him in the
brush. Looking back, he saw a cougar kind of in mid leap toward Paul Daniel.
He ran down the length of the log he had been fishing from yelling "Cougar!"
When he reached the end of the log his son was on the ground beneath him with
the cougar's jaw over his head. The cougar's body was laid out on its side.
Explaining he had a height advantage from the log when he came to his son's rescue,
Krismer leapt down and landed squarely on the animal's chest with both feet.
The 175 pound Krismer said he believes that blow did some "pretty significant
damage" to the cougar that he described as not fully grown and around 100 pounds.
He kicked the animal twice more before it retreated back into the wilderness.
Krismer felt he acted out of instinct and on adrenalin when he saw his boy being
attacked. Mom Rosemary Abram also sprinted across the beach barefooted to help
her son, but her husband had already thwarted the attack.
The parents assessed Paul Daniel's wounds. He had a puncture wound from an
incisor at the back of his head and raked cuts over the his head and back.
They took the boy to the Campbell River's Hospital the following day where
they first reported the incident, and the boy recieved treatment, including
antibiotics to prevent infection.
Despite the delayed report by the Krismers, wilflife officials did an "extensive"
search for the cougar. Though other campers reported seeing it the following
morning at 9 and 11, officials failed to capture the animal for the safety of
other campers and/or disease testing.
Sources: (The Parksville Qualicum Beach News;
Dad fights off cougar attacking his son;
Jules S. Xavier, Black Press; 08/25/2006)
(United Press International;
Boy saved from cougar attack by father;
Four-year-old okay after cougar attack at campground;
Gerry Bellett, CanWest News Service; 08/24/2006)
(CTV Television Network;
Instinct saved boy in cougar attack: B.C. father;
CTV.ca News Staff; 08/24/2006)
Special thanks and credit to Roxanne who maintains a site in New York, Trackincats.
She first reported this story HERE
(2 Injury Reports, 1 Pet Injury Report)
24 January. Hiking on Brown Creek Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods
State Park sometime before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon
in Humbolt County about 40 miles north of Arcata,
California, 70-year-old Jim Hamm was attacked by a
two- to three-year-old, 68 pound, female cougar as it
crept up from behind. The lion pounced on him near the
end of a 10-mile hike. Jim was trailing his wife when
the big cat attacked. He heard a strange crunch behind
him. When he turned to look over his shoulder, he saw a
mountain lion right behind him. The cat pounced from
a run. Jim dropped his shoulder and twisted, and the
cat shot past him. But in a flash, the cat charged
again and jumped toward Jim Hamm's raised arm, knocking
him down and pinning him face down on the trail.
The Fortuna, California, man was accompanied by his
65-year-old wife Nell.
Nell Hamm says the attack happened on what seemed
at the time, "a perfect day." She says the two
talked about how fortunate they were and how nice the
weather was. "And then all of a sudden, just like that,
life changes and Jim's life was in jeopardy," she said.
"All of a sudden we're spending our days in a hospital."
Jim Hamm recounted,
"I stuck my hand inside its mouth so it would
chew on my hand instead of elsewhere, because it
would try to get my neck and stuff. It didn't care,
it just wanted to eat." Hamm got his fingers
in the cat's nose and
twisted "to give him pain to make it so he can call
off the attack." Nell Hamm said she first saw the lion
when it had her husband's head in its jaws. He didn't
scream, Nell said. "It was a different, horrible plea
for help, and I turned around, and by then the cat had
wrestled Jim to the ground."
Nell Hamm did all the right things. She approached and
screamed at the lion. According to Jim Hamm, his
wife grabbed a rain-soaked 3 inch diameter, 8 foot long
log and began beating it on its back. "She's good and
strong: She's a tennis player, so she can club away,"
he said. "It wouldn't let go, no matter how hard I
hit it," she said.
While Jim was trying to tear at the face of the cat,
Nell says, "Jim was talking to me all through this.
At one point I was crying and screaming, and I said,
'Honey, it's not working. It's not working, and I
don't know what to do,' and he said, 'I've got a pen
in my pocket. Get the pen and jab him in the eye.'
So I got the pen and tried to put it in his eye,
but it didn't want to go in as easy as I thought it
would." When the pen bent and became useless, Nell
Hamm went back to using the log. "That lion never
flinched," she said. "I just knew it was going to
Finally, Nell slammed the log butt-end into the cat's
head. The lion had ignored her until then. "I thought
the risk of hitting Jim in the head had to be put
aside. I thought if I went this way, right into the
head of the lion that maybe, just maybe it might work,
and it did," Nell said. At last, she had its attention.
With Jim's blood on its snout,
the lion let go, stepped back, an stood glaring
at her with its ears pinned back. "I thought he
was going to attack me," she said. "He's going
to get me," Nell remembered telling her stricken
husband. And so she began shouting some more, at
the top of her lungs, waving the log at the cat.
"And like a miracle, it went off into the ferns and
The Hamms are healthy, athletic people. They play
sports, scuba dive and run. Since they moved to Fortuna
from Camarillo two years ago, they have hiked the
trails in Humboldt County, clocking 6 to 12 miles,
two to three times a week. Neither of them is large;
both are under 5 feet 6 inches. But they had talked
about what to do in case of a mountain lion attack:
Scream, look big, fight back. "We fought harder
than we ever have to save his life," she said. Nell said she didn't have to
think twice about fighting for her husband. "You hear
remarks of hero," she said. "It wasn't that. We
love each other very much, and we've been together
for 50 years now, and it was just a matter his
life was in jeopardy, and we were fighting for his
life, and we just fought together like we've done
with everything. We do things together."
Terrified that it might come back, Nell told her
husband that he had to get up and try to walk to the
Newton B. Drury Parkway
to find help. He was dazed and continuing to lose
blood quickly. She yelled at her husband to keep
him conscious as they staggered about a
quarter-mile to the trail head. "Somehow we made it
out of there," she said. Nell gathered more branches
to use as weapons if the cougar followed them,
and they waited for help.
flagged down a truck with a trail crew--after one
motorist refused to stop and help. The Eureka
Reporter newspaper reported this crew found the man
bleeding around 4 p.m. The four man inmate crew for the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
went for help. As a result, the California Department
of Forestry dispatched an ambulance from Arcata, which
took the couple to the Mad River Community Hospital.
State Park employees also responded.
Jim Hamm underwent surgery for serious lacerations
to his head, legs, arms, and hands. His condition in
the hospital two days later was fair. His swelling
went down. But Jim still faced a serious struggle.
Cat bites and scratches can lead to serious
infections. From the start, doctors in Arcata were
giving him intravenous antibiotics. They also began
a precautionary series of rabies shots. As a result
of infection the following Saturday, Jim had to
undergo emergency surgery for an infection in his
head wound, his condition was downgraded to serious,
and on Sunday he was airlifted to a larger research
hospital in San Francisco for more specialized
At the California Pacific Medical Center Davies
Campus in San Francisco, his condition
was reported as critical. Because Hamm responded
well to [new] antibiotics to fight off infection,
he was upgraded to stable condition by Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday he underwent reconstructive
surgery. As part of a complex operation to cover
exposed bone, doctors
took a thin layer of muscle from his back,
laid it over the missing six by eight inch
portion of his scalp that was torn away during the
attack, then grafted skin from his thigh over it.
then kept Hamm nearly immobile for 24+ hours in
order for the grafting to take. When his scalp
heals, hair will no longer grow from the grafted
Plastic Surgeon Dr. Rudy Buntic says the operation
was one of the most difficult procedures he's ever
Though it went well, and he expects Hamm to make
a full recovery, Buntic said it may take a year
of specific physical therapy, usually 3 times
per week, combined with strengthening exercise
programs at home to get stiffness out
that resulted from so much swelling. Immediately
the focus was on rehabilitating Hamm's arms, hands,
and fingers. Hamm was not released from the
hospital to begin his therapy programs in time
for his 02/09 50th wedding anniversary but was
released on Wednesday, Valentine's Day, 3 weeks
after his ordeal first began on Wednesday,
Officials closed the park after the attack and
released hounds to track the cougar. As a result,
two mountain lions were killed near the trail in
the area. Officials think the lions were
One lion was shot with a rifle that night,
the other was killed the next morning, said Fish and
Game Warden Rick Banko. Their carcasses were flown
to a state forensics lab in Rancho Cordova to
determine if either animal mauled the man, he said.
From DNA testing, it was determined
that the female cougar had Hamm's blood on her front
claws. She was 6' 6" length from tail tip to
Her health seemed to be OK
but both of the cougars' stomachs were empty.
Neither had rabies according to Steve Martarano,
spokesperson for the California Department of
Fish and Game.
An UPDATE 5 years after the attack:
Nell Hamm, 71, had been 20 feet in front when she heard her husband shriek in pain.
(NBC11.com/San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland; Wife Saves Husband From Mountain Lion;
Wife: 'I'm Not Willing To Give Him Up': Lion Attack Victim Scheduled For Surgery;
The Associated Press also contributed to this report; first posted 01/27/2007)
(Yahoo! News; Mountain lion attacks hiker in Calif.;
Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writer; 01/25/2007)
(CNN.com; Woman, 65, saves husband from mountain lion;
(The Eureka Reporter; Man Attacked By Mountain Lion;
by Christine Bensen-Messinger; 1/25/2007 and
Man stable after mountain lion attack;
'I knew it was going to kill him';
Cougar victim's surgery goes well; 02/01/2007; John Driscoll/The Times-Standard;)
(North County Times;
Mountain lion shot after attack had human blood on claws;
Associated Press; 01/26/2007)
Wife Saves Husband From Mountain Lion - 16th Attack In State Since 1890;
The Associated Press contributed to this report; 01/26/2007)
(Southern Oregon's Mail Tribune;
Cougars on the prowl;
Mark Freeman; 01/28/2007)
(Fresno's KGPE - CBS TV47;
Hiker attacked by mountain lion undergoes more surgery;
The Associated Press; 01/28/2007)
(ABC News Video;
Mountain lion attack victim fighting for life; AP U.S. News)
(SFGate.com/The San Francisco Chronicle;
Man attacked by a mountain lion upgraded to stable condition;
AP; 01/30/2007 and
Mountain lion survivor ready for next step;
Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer; 01/31/2007)
Mountain Lion Victim To Have More Surgery - Doctors Will Move Skin From Jim Hamm's Back To His Scalp;
CBS/AP; 01/31/2007) (email from Steve Martarano; 02/15/2007)
Mountain Lion Victim Heads Home to Long Rehabilitation;
interview material from Toan Lam; 02/13/2007)
Finding justice in the flesh;
By Rone Tempest, Times Staff Writer; March 30, 2007)
(Inside Bay Area.com;
Couple relives mountain lion attack;
by John Driscoll; 04/09/2007)
Couple's lesson in survival from '07 cougar attack;
By Peter Fimrite; 06/23/2012)
"It was a desperate, horrible sound like something I've never heard before," she said.
"I turned around, and the lion was lying on the ground with Jim's head in its mouth."
She picked up an 8-foot-long tree limb, ran up to the lion, and began pounding its midsection.
"She didn't even flinch, so all I could do was keep hitting and hitting and telling him,
'Fight Jim, fight,' " said Nell, her voice still breaking with emotion when she describes it.
"It was horrible. You can't imagine the horror of such a thing."
Her husband, meanwhile, kept his hand in the lion's mouth, holding its tongue,
jamming a finger up its nose and pushing back as the lion bit his face and attempted to
move its jaws down to his neck. At one point he instructed his wife to dig a pen out of
his pocket and jam it in the lion's eye. She got the pen, but it broke when she tried
to poke the lion.
Meanwhile, the lion continued holding on, its eyes closed, apparently waiting for Jim
to die. Desperate, Nell rammed the limb into the cougar's head, causing it to jump back,
apparently aware for the first time that Nell was there. The lion stood, crouching about
8 feet away, its ears down, appearing ready to pounce.
"I knew she was going to attack. I said, 'She's got me Jim,' " Nell said. "That's when
I put the limb over my head and screamed as loud as I could. The lion got up then and
just walked away."
01 August. 12-year-old Colton Reeb of
Kamloops, British Columbia,
was on what was to be a 5 day camping trip
with the Patterson family when he was attacked
by a cougar, hospitalizing the boy and cutting
the trip short. Marc Patterson owns [a cabin at]
the Kelly Lake Vacation Lodge near Clinton in
the interior of BC. They were camping in the
area which is about 150 kilometres northeast
Wednesday after dinner, Colton was walking alone
when a young cougar jumped him. Officials said
Colton acted properly by curling up in a ball,
punching at it, and trying to protect his head
when attacked. "I heard a rustle in the bushes
and I saw the cougar come at me ... I tried to
punch it and I did a few times," he said, adding
the Pattersons' border collie was quickly on the
scene, trying vainly to injure the big feline.
"I remember [the cougar] putting his paw on my
ribs and it hurt a lot -- it was pretty
disgusting ... I was really yelling and
screaming," said Reeb. His screams drew Marc,
45, who is also a soccer coach, to his aid.
I see the cougar with his mouth on top of the young
boy's head. [There's] nothing but blood everywhere.
I jumped down there on the cat, grabbed him by the
neck and started squeezing him from behind. I tried
to pull the cat off and it took a few seconds.
Finally the cat did let go and then we tumbled. The
cat was so strong he just pulled himself out of my
hands. Then he's a metre in front of me, looking
at me [growling] with his ears back. I growled
back at him and said "I'm ready to go."
Marc had kicked and punched the cat, but he said
five soccer kicks to the cat's head were not enough
to wrench the boy's head from the animal's mouth.
So he put a chokehold on the cougar and squeezed
as hard as he could until the cougar finally let
go and allowed the boy to get clear. The cougar
then turned on Marc. Though he had fallen during
the struggle, he managed to get back on his feet
and ward the cougar off by waving his arms,
yelling, and backing away. The Pattersons'
border collie/german shepherd helped out,
nipping at the cougar's back. The cougar finally
slinked away as Patterson's wife Terri also
stood nearby armed with a meat cleaver/machete
--just in case. Patterson praised his family's
bravery. "My wife and daughter were superheroes,"
he said. "They were right there beside me. I
mean, I did have to struggle with this cat and
it was pretty intense."
The family then drove to the Clinton RCMP
detachment where the commander's wife
administered first aid while the officers
radioed for an ambulance. The boy was then taken
by ambulance to the nearby town of Ashcroft and
from there flown by helicopter to B.C. Children's
Hospital in Vancouver.
The following morning Colton underwent surgery for
claw marks and bites to his head, face, neck, and
His father Robin Reeb said that Colton
suffered a huge gash down the side of
his face, and the cougar almost tore a chunk
of his scalp off. He required "hundreds of
stitches," as well plastic surgery, but Reeb
added the boy is eager to resume camping.
When he first arrived in Vancouver to be near his
son, Colton's father was tearful in expressing his
gratitude for Patterson's bravery saving his son.
He said "He attacked this thing with his bare hands
and kicked the s**t out of it -- it's amazing.
If it weren't for him, my son would be dead."
Said Patterson: "I said earlier I was scared,
but I was just pumped. I didn't know what it
was... but I wasn't going to let that boy die...
I love this little boy and I didn't
want him to die. I guess they're calling me a
hero now -- I thought soldiers were heroes."
Though he required more than 300 stitches,
200 in his head, by Friday the hospital
reported that Colton's vital signs were within
normal limits and stable. Colton remained in
Children's Hospital until Monday afternoon
08/06. His swelling had gone down and he was
able to get more sleep during the night. He
was transferred the Royal Inland Hospital in
his hometown of Kamloops for few more days of
monitoring and to continue receiving intravenous
antibiotics which are necessary to prevent
infection from big cat bites. Despite
the extent of his wounds, Colton's scars
were expected to be minimal after treatment.
When B.C. conservation officers returned to
the scene two hours later, young Reeb said the
60-pound (27-kilogram) / 70-pound (32-kilogram)
male cougar cougar was still savouring the
fruits of the attack when it was killed by
conservation officers. "He was trying to eat
the chunks from my head, so they waited and
then shot it." In return, Reeb said he was
hoping to retrieve some of the cougar's
claws from conservation officers.
Provincial conservation officer Rod Olsen
noted the cougar was obviously injured from
Patterson's intervention. Olsen proposed the
commonly believed notion that the cougar may
have mistaken the boy for a deer or
mountain sheep. He felt this was probable
because the attack occurred in an area where
such prey is common. An independent thinker
has to wonder if this is science or obsession
to believe that humans are so special to
predators that an attack on us has to be a
mistake. This thinking is
suspect in that if a cougar attacks a family
housecat (not native to North America nor
considered common cougar prey), no
one says the cougar mistook it for a rabbit.
Similarly, if a cougar attacks a horse (not
native to North America nor considered common
cougar prey) or a goat or a dog,
no one says that the cougar thought the
non-human animal was a deer or a mountain
(Yahoo News: Reuters;
CORRECTED: Canadian boy feels "ripped off" by cougar attack;
'Hero' wrestles cougar off 12-year-old boy;
Laura Payton; CanWest News Service; 08/03/2007)
(CBC News [Canada|British Columbia];
Cougar attacked 12-year-old boy in B.C. Interior;
08/03/2007 & Cougar survivor on the mend:
Doctors say boy's scars will be minimal by Katie Schneider: Sun Media: the Calgary Sun;
Injured boy flown to hometown;
also by Katie Schneider, Sun Media; 08/07/2007)
(International Harold Tribune: The Associated Press;
Man wrestles with cougar to pull 12-year-old victim from cat's mouth;
(FOXNews.com: Associated Press;
Man Pulls 12-Year-Old's Head From Cougar's Jaws;
B.C. man fights cougar, saves boy);
by Bill Kaufmann, Sun media, The Calgary Sun; 08/03/2007)
Boy attacked by cougar may need more surgery;
by Matthew Little; CanWest News Service; 08/04/2007 &
Man saves boy from cougar: 12-year-old recovers in hospital after cat chews his head;
Laura Payton; 08/03/2007)
Cougar 'kind of felt like a woolly mammoth': Twelve-year-old in good shape, but suffered multiple lacerations in bout with wild cat;
by Ian Bailey; 08/04/2007)
(Kamloops THIS WEEK; Colton just wants to ride;
by Cassidy Oliver; 08/95/2007)
(Canoe -- CNews - Canada;
B.C. boy recalls cougar attack: Twelve-year-old punched at wildcat before beast viciously chewed him up;
by Bill Kaufmann, Sun Media, The Calgary Sun; 08/11/2007)
26 August. Jogging Kansas teen jumped and scratched. See this
unconfirmed-by-cougar injury report
27 August. Canmore Woman selflessly defends her small dog in the
jaws of a cougar. See this pet attack
(6 Injury Reports including the death of a New Mexico man; 1 Unconfirmed Report, 2 Non-injury Reports)
01 March. South Dakota ice fisherman surprises cougar with fox kill in cattails. See this unconfirmed attack
08 March. 10-year-old Paul John Schalow from El Mirage, Arizona,
was playing in the sand on the Verde River beach with his 9-year-old
cousin, Bridgette when a cougar walked up behind him and began first
pawing his back drawing blood and then taking his head in her mouth
to see if she could bite down on it. The youngsters had been riding
their ATVs for P.J.'s birthday in Arizona's Tonto
National Forest near Bloody Basin Road and Sheep Bridge. The outing
included several adults. They stopped by the river around 2 p.m. for
The first P.J. became aware
of the cougar was from his cousin Brittany's face. Brittany said
she was scared, shaking. This caused P.J. to turn around to look.
Brittany's grandmother began yelling for the children to stay
still and not move. They thought the cougar would just keep
walking, but after viewing both children, it picked P.J. to
investigate. P.J.'s grandfather, Newton Smith, was about
10 feet away, and he's convinced that had the children started
screaming and running, the lion would have gone into attack
mode immediately. Instead, it casually investigated P.J.
who showed remarkable discipline by standing stock-still as
the animal scratched his back with its claws and tried to
bite down on his head. Later P.J. commented, "I was lucky,"
he said. "She had dull teeth."
The older female mountain lion proved to be rabid, but it wasn't
foaming at the mouth and no one thought of rabies at the time.
Smith did say that it seemed strange to see a mountain lion,
out in the middle of the day, approaching a large group of
people, and just strolling halfway between the adults
and the children on the beach.
Smith, a hunter and outdoorsman, was calm as he described
what must have been a tense moment. "You could see she was
definitely sizing P.J up. She put her paw on his shoulder.
She put her mouth directly on top of his head, and I
think if the head had been smaller, he'd have been
Fortunately, another adult (P.J.'s uncle) in the party had brought
a 10mm handgun along and had left it in a vehicle that was parked
nearby. He ran to get the gun. The grandfather said P.J.'s uncle
first shot into the water to scare the animal away, but it turned
around toward P.J. again with every appearance of attacking, so
the uncle killed it with one shot.
It was only when they took the carcass home and called
wildlife officials, who came to check the carcass, that they learned
there might be a problem. A few hours later, after tissue tests were
done, they were told that the animal was in an advanced stage of
rabies, which may have accounted for its unusually casual
behavior. Specifically, it meant the victim and five family
members who were exposed to the lion must receive a series of
six rabies shots administered over a period of several weeks.
Randy Babb, a biologist with the Arizona Game & Fish Department
said the incident marked the first reported rabid mountain lion
attack in his 20 years with the department. "It's very unusual,"
Babb said. "You see rabies in mostly rats, foxes, skunks, other
species. It's an unusual occurrence when you see rabies in a lion."
Sources: (Today: msnbc.com;
Boy keeps cool as mountain lion tries to eat him:
Rabid carnivore claws child's back, tries to lock jaw around his head; By Mike Celizic; 03/12/2008)
(United Press International;
Family fights off rabid mountain lion;
(The Arizona Republic
Rabid mountain lion attacks El Mirage boy;
by Lily Leung; 03/10/2008)
Mountain lion that attacked boy has rabies;
06 April. Girl's cell phone calls brother to save her from stalking BC cougar. See this non-injury attack
Five-year-old Jose Salazar Junior of Albuquerque, NM,
walked around a bend as the family was hiking Saturday
evening on the Balsam Glade
Nature Trail in the Cibola National Forest near Sandia Peak
east of Albuquerque. He was momentarily out of sight of his
family, 20 to 30 feet behind him, when he screamed.
"We looked at each other because that wasn't a normal scream;
it wasn't a scream we'd heard before," said the boy's father,
Jose Salazar Sr., in an interview on
The father raced toward the sound of his young son,
and saw a large animal of some sort bound from out of
the bushes after his running child, pounce on the boy,
bite down on his scalp, and begin to drag the panicking
child away. Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said
the cat emerged from the brush and then tackled and begin
batting at their boy.
As Jose's parents rushed forward, the cat picked the boy up
and dragged him about 80 feet down the
mountainside. The father was running to keep up, almost
tripping every other step. He tried to jump forward onto the
cat's back when it hesitated due to a fallen tree in its way.
The cat couldn't lift Jose over it.
His father said, "The way the cat had my son's head, his
scalp pulled off. And that's when the cat stopped because
it lost its grip, essentially. That second, just when I was
up in the air, I was thinking, whatever I fall onto, I
just have to hold on." As Jose's father jumped forward,
the cat leapt out of the way. "If the cat had had one
second more," Jose Salazar Senior said, "it could have
gotten a better grip, picked Jose up, and been gone."
New Mexico Game and Fish official Ross Morgan said the
father saved his son's life.
Jose Salazar Senior ripped up his shirt to bandage his son
and tried to hide the boy's wounds from his wife.
"I held him in a way so she couldn't see his scalp was half
hanging off. I didn't tell her because I was trying to stay
calm," he said.
Before those harrowing moments, Charlotte Salazar said,
"It had been a beautiful evening, and we said, 'Why not
take a drive up to the mountains?'" The area they chose
in the Sandia Mountains had signs posted throughout the
picnic areas and trailheads warning visitors that they
are in "Cougar Country" and "Bear Country."
The Salazars' son was flown by helicopter from the
Sandia Ski Area to the University of New Mexico Hospital
on Saturday evening where he was initially listed in
serious condition. Jose Junior underwent numerous
surgeries and was soon upgraded to stable condition.
He made a full physical recovery, but months later he
still suffered significant fear regarding dogs and
cats--anything he perceived could attack him.
The state Game and Fish Department said in a news release
Monday that the child and his father identified the
attacking animal as a mountain lion from pictures shown
to them. Charlotte Salazar had said it looked like
a large bobcat. The family described the animal as stout,
muscular, and having dark hair.
"Jose's scratches are consistent with a cougar's," said
Morgan, "and larger than a bobcat's. A small bear could
have made scratches that size"
The conditions were good for tracking that night
and in the days after
the incident, according to Morgan, so Game and Fish
called in tracker Orville Fletcher and his dogs. "As
soon as we got the call, he was there. He's probably
the best [in the state]. These dogs are so well-trained
that they will not key on anything but [a cougar]."
Morgan reported that these dogs apparently picked up
no scent of a mountain lion in the area the night of
the attack or on the two following days.
Fletcher said the boy was dragged sideways and that
cougars typically drag backwards. Fletcher also said
bears more typically attack the head first which he
indicated was the case in this incident. By contrast,
Fletcher said cougars generally attack the neck first.
(One report says the boy was picked up first by his
neck.) The boys shoes came off in the scuffle and had
been chewed on by the time Fletcher and his dogs
arrived just hours after the attack. One shoe was
left on the scene in case the attacker would return
for it and could be trapped. Animal hair on Jose's
clothing could also be analyzed.
Game and Fish officials later captured a bear in the
area but released it upon concluding that its traits
were not those of the suspected animal.
tracks and droppings found in the area and what Jose
Junior said, the department put its efforts into
trying to snare an immature cougar. Morgan said such
an animal can weigh from 60 to 80 pounds and could
have easily carried the 42-pound boy. Three
leg-hold snares were set up in the area in an attempt
to catch and sedate a cougar so that its teeth can be
measured and compared to the bite marks on Jose
Junior then either released or euthanized, Morgan said.
October 2, 2008, the New Mexico State Game Commission
met to hear opinions about big game hunting rules
with the Salazar family in attendance. In response
to a board member's comment that it had not been
proven the incident was caused by a
mountain lion, Charlotte Salazar countered that
forensic examiners pulled fur from the child's
clothing and saliva from his shoe. The DNA tests
showed a 95% probability the animal was a mountain
lion. With attack coverups nearly epidemic in many
states, the 95% likelihood it was a cougar is why
this report has been moved from the unconfirmed to
the confirmed section of these pages.
Animal attacks boy, 5, in New Mexico mountains;
The Associated Press; 05/19/2008)
(Mountain View Telegraph;
5-Year-Old Attacked by Big Cat;
By Jeremy Hunt; 05/22/2008)
(TV KOB 4;
Wild animal attacks boy in Sandias;
By The Associated Press and Eyewitness News 4; 05/18/2008)
(Alamogordo Daily News;
Cougar attack recounted for game commission;
By Elva K. Osterreich, Associate News Editor; 10/03/2008)
Father Saves Son From Wildcat Mauling:
Five-year-old Jose Salazar Jr. Was Dragged Down a Hillside During a Hike With His Family
By Imaeyen Ibanga; 07/21/2008)
17 June. Medical investigators confirmed to the
family on Saturday, June 21, but apparently not to the
press until Monday, June 23, that
a mountain lion was responsible
for the death of 55-year-old Robert Nawojski,
reported missing by his brother Walter on Thursday,
June 19, from his mobile home on State
Road 15 in Pinos Altos, a mountainous
town in southwestern New Mexico. Judy Tucker of Silver
City, NM, who first reported this attack to me, has
friends who live in P.A. as locals call Pinos Altos.
She reports that her impression is that Robert was slight
of build (probably not much over 100 lbs) which
could contribute to a cougar choosing him as a target.
Relatives of Robert Nawojski said he liked to bathe
and shave on a rock ledge about 60 yards from his home. The
state Department of Game and Fish determined the lion
attacked Nawojski just below the ledge, dragged his body a
short distance and then ate and buried parts of it. The
family reported that the death certificate stated he died
on Tuesday, the last day anyone had seen Robert.
We lost our uncle who was loved very much by his family.
He was autistic and loved the woods. We were there on
Monday at his house with our kids; thats scary enough!
But [what] makes me sick to my stomach is that we were
never warned! The death certificate is being given to us
along with whats left of him on Monday. They called us
today and told us the official word is he was attacked
and killed by the mountain lion on Tuesday night [06/17/08].
He was probably standing on the rocks, as he loved to
star gaze! WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE HIM AND NEVER FORGET HIM!
Lt. Rick Anglada, a New Mexico State Police spokesman,
said, "Apparently the man was pretty torn up." Since
Robert lived alone and there were no witnesses to the
incident, investigators required an autopsy to
determine the cause of death.
Upon arrival at Nawojski's home on Thursday to search
for him, police officers sighted a mountain lion that
would not leave, so the they contacted Game and Fish
authorities. Game officer, John Armijo, was among
those who arrived on the scene. He spotted, shot, and
wounded the lingering mountain with buckshot from
his shotgun. The wounded lion was able to run off.
After it fled, officers discovered Robert's body.
They found the door to Robert's trailer open,
the water running, and his false teeth on the table.
According to neighbors, Nawojski left the water
running at night for white noise in the home,
leading them to believe the attack occurred at
Finally, one week after the attack (Tuesday night
06/24/2008) the lion was caught in a U.S. Department
of Agriculture Wildlife Services snare near Cross
Mountain Road about a half-mile from where Nawojski
was attacked. The lion was killed the following
morning and its body taken to a New Mexico State
Police crime lab for a necropsy. It was an
average-sized, adult male weighing about 125
pounds and was found with four pellet holes in it from
buckshot from the game officers shotgun. State police,
wildlife personnel, and hunters with hounds had searched
for the wounded lion since Thursday with no results.
They continued to search for a second lion reported in
Mountain lion sightings are not uncommon around Pinos Altos.
"I've seen several over the years, and seen their tracks,"
said Tom Barry, who lives across the road from Nawojski.
He saw one last winter scratching at a neighbor's chicken
coop. "We both stood our ground. I said 'shoo,' and it
went away," he said.
(Las Cruces Sun-News;
Big cat blamed in man's death;
by Levi Hill/Silver City Bureau Chief; 06/21/2008)
(Silver City Sun-News;
Autopsy confirms cougar killed man;
by Levi Hill/Sun News Bureau Chief; 06/25/2008)
(The Albuquerque Journal Online;
Breaking: Mountain Lion Caught, Killed Near Pinos Altos;
by Bruce Daniels - ABQnewsSeeker; 06/26/2008)
(The Albuquerque Journal Online;
Officers kill mountain lion that might have attacked Pinos Altos man;
by the Associated Press; 06/25/2008)
(The Silver City Daily Press;
Officials capture, kill mountain lion near PA
Brother remembers victim of lion attack;
(emails from Judy Tucker 06/21/2008-06/24/2008)
Tom Bates, who lives on the road about a mile south of
Pinos Altos, said he found a cougar "just hanging around"
next to his garbage cans one night two weeks ago.
"It was really a shock," said Bates, who described the
animal as "totally docile." He said he called the Game
and Fish Department "just to let them know."
Winona Tavernier said she spotted a cougar lingering near
an outbuilding about two weeks ago, "hanging around
closer than we thought it should be."
Frank Griswold, who lives one to two miles south of
where Nawojski was found, said he had had run-ins
with a mountain lion over the course of the last week.
Griswold said he and his wife came across a large
snarling lion in the area June 12 while hiking
along Enchanted Trail with their dog.
"A mountain lion came out of the forest and stood
across the barbed wire fence from myself, my wife
and our dog," he said. Griswold grabbed the dog and
left the scene. The lion stayed.
Walking the dog two days later, the mountain lion
followed the couple home and (came) up their driveway.
Though this concerned he and his wife, Griswold
speculated the dog's squeaky toy may have drawn
the cougar, sounding similar to a game call.
Griswold said the third encounter was on Tuesday
morning when he spotted the animal following him
while walking along the road.
"By that point I was going armed with a shotgun
with rubber bullets," he said. "Game and Fish said
to use rubber bullets to scare it off. I got two
shots off at it, but I am not sure if I hit it.
I have not seen it since."
News that the cat was suspected in a killing did not
surprise Griswold, who said he estimated its size at
about 200 pounds. He said other neighbors had seen
it in their backyards and looking in the windows of
their homes as long ago as a month.
"It is not too much fun," he said after hearing of
the possible killing. "It didn't show any aggressive
behavior, but it was very interested in us."
Emily Moutoux said she and her husband, Mike, spotted
a large mountain lion on their deck about 7 a.m. Tuesday.
"I was getting ready for work and it was sitting
outside our patio door," she said. "Mike got a shotgun
and shot over its head. Game and Fish said that if
we found it on the deck again to kill it."
Moutoux said the news of a possible killing is
"I have been scared since Tuesday," she said.
"There is not a time I go out now that I don't
A number of residents in the area have heard
that an unidentified individual had been feeding
the mountain lion at least for the last month as
a means of getting photographs of the animal.
In honor of the man killed on his 55th birthday in NM, it
has been suggested that a MEMORIAL FUND be set up in
Robert Nawojski's name to educate people not to feed (or
otherwise attract) wild animals. If anyone
has a suggestion regarding establishing such, please
contact me. (My email link is found on my
- Linda Lewis
16 September. At about 9:00 p.m. 11-year-old Joe Hess
was jumped by a probably young cougar which scratched his
forehead while he, his brother, and a friend were playing
hide and seek in his friend's yard in the 400 block of
Columbia Street near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington.
Joe says it was very dark (the full moon was on September 15
but it may have been overcast).
To conceal himself, he lay down on the flat ground. When
the cat pounced on him, he first thought it was neighbor
house cat Magellan. He says the cougar's claws must have been
very sharp, as he barely felt the scratches when the cat
batted him. Still thinking it was Magellan, only appearing
so big in the night light, he confidently yelled "no" to
the cat and jumped up. The cat jumped back and then noticed
the other children and withdrew. Now realizing this was a
cougar, not a house cat, Joe backed slowly away from the
animal toward the house until he got around a tree, and
then he bolted and ran into the house.
Police officers and Wildlife officials arrived on the scene
almost immediately. A local police officer took a long-range
shot and missed the cougar remaining near the scene. Fish
and Wildlife Department Captain Chris Anderson says it
appears the approximately 100-pound cat may have been playing
with the boy, because if the predator saw him as prey his
injuries would have been worse. It is also possible an
inexperienced cat was sizing up potential prey.
Anderson says wildlife agents hunted through the night for
the cat. Whether initially playing or sizing up a victim,
if it came back into town, it would be considered a threat.
Two hunters with dogs were issued 30-day permits to track
and kill the cat. The houndsmen were called in from Omak,
Washington, Tuesday evening. They tried to track the cougar,
but called off the search just after four in the morning on
Wednesday. Dry conditions were cited as making it hard for
the dogs to find the cougars' scent.
Joe was treated on the scene for his minor wounds. He said
he felt lucky to have escaped with three small scratches.
Hunters searching for cougar that scratched Grand Coulee boy;
Associated Press; 09/17/2008)
Cougar attacks boy in Coulee Dam;
26 September. 29-year-old Adam Wheat was taken
to Holy Cross Hospital to treat chest wounds he
received from a cougar while hiking west of Taos Ski
Valley. Wheat was given stitches and released in time
to help New Mexico Game and Fish hunt for the cat the
next morning. Wheat said he recalled seeing a
partially buried deer carcass nearby before the
attack. Game and Fish Spokesman Martin Frentzel
said burying a kill and then protecting it is a
common behaviour for mountain lions. Despite the
victim's aid in showing the location, tracking
dogs could not pick up a scent of the predator
according to Game and Fish supervisor Greg Medina.
Failure to find a scent seems to be the case more
often than not.
Wheat said Tuesday [September 30], "I bought my season
pass that morning [September 26] and decided to do some
hiking. I heard a hissing sound behind me and turned
around. All I can remember was this yellow flash going
toward me." It was around midday when the animal jumped
him from a chest-high rock and knocked him to the ground.
Wheat said he hit his head on a log when he fell backward
but he drove the cat off when he hit it with a rock.
"My left hand fell right on top of a rock, and I just
swung it as hard as I could."
Wheat said, "It must've just been pure adrenaline
doing the two miles back to the base to my car."
He started to feel faint but made it to his business
in town, Jack Wrapit Express, where an employee Tony
Knief drove him to the hospital. "I thought he was
joking at first but then I saw he had these scratches
in him," said Knief.
"I'm just scared to death that if someone else got
attacked, I'd be partially responsible," Wheat commented
about having to report the attack. He said that he is
grateful he is OK. "The injuries could have been a lot
more severe. I'm incredibly lucky. I just feel
incredibly grateful to be alive."
(KOB.com Eyewitness News";
Man attacked by mountain lion at Taos Ski Valley;
by Eyewitness News 4; 08/28/2008)
(The Santa Fe New Mexican;
Taos man fine after mountain lion encounter: Cougar jumps at hiker;
by Chandra Johnson/The Taos News; 10/01/2008)
(The Santa Fe New Mexican;
Hiker says mountain lion attacked him;
the New Mexican and wire service; 09/27/2008)
16 December. Nevada would not release the name of the
injured human nor any other helpful details in this account
except the gender of the human and the weight of the dog.
Similar suppression of information which is important both to
researchers and to those trying to "live with cougars" is
found in the only other Nevada incident I have been able to
find. It occurred at a Nevada test site near Las Vegas. That
report only said
was slightly injured in March/April of 1991. I found the name of
this victim from other sources but have never confirmed the
exact last name nor the exact date, let alone time of day.
In this December 2008 instance, an unnamed woman (with no age,
height, or weight given) successfully defended her chained
dog which she became aware was being attacked by a cougar
within the city limits of Virginia City Highlands. This took
place in the foothills of the historic mining town of
Virginia City, near Calaveras Road on Geiger Summit, and
is located southeast of Reno in the state of Nevada.
The dog was said to be 50 pounds but no age, gender, nor
breed was given. The time of day was only vaguely
referenced as "during the evening hours."
Both dog and woman sustained minor injuries. The woman was
treated for scratches on the scene. Her injuries resulted
from the cougar swatting at her, not from a bite. The dog
was treated by a veterinarian.
From tracks, Nevada Division of Wildlife spokesman Chris
Healy said the lion appeared to be a younger and smaller
one. Hampered by high winds and blowing snow, officials
tried to track it the next day with the aid of hounds.
Since officials felt it was headed out of Virginia City
Highlands' urban interface and because of bad
weather, they ceased tracking after that day. One
article, however, quoted Healy as saying conditions
were perfect for tracking the cougar with "a hot trail
in the cold snow."
Sources: (Virginia City News;
Virginia City Highlands' mountain lion to be left alone;
By Karen Woodmansee; 12/20/2008)
Nevada woman hurt by mountain lion in rare attack;
By Scott Sonner | Associated Press; 12/18/2008)
25 December. 911 won't aid sisters stalked Christmas day, hangs
up on them. Their non-injury report
(7 Injury Reports, 2 Chihuahuas reports, and 1 Non Injury report)
12 May. Mid-day (about 1 p.m.) a 21-year-old
worker at the Sun Peaks Ski Resort in the southern
interior of British Columbia near Kamloops was
hitchhiking home on Sun Peaks Road when he was attacked
by a cougar. According to Constable Cheryl Bush of the
Kamloops Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he had gotten
about 3 kilometers from the resort when he spotted a
cougar stalking him from the embankment above. It was
on the right-hand side as he was heading down towards
Hefley, B.C., according to conservation officer Tobe
The unidentified man had gotten
off work earlier than expected, so his ride was not
available. When the cougar continued to stalk him,
the man called his girlfriend on his cell phone, and
she alerted officials of his situation. At first the
cougar just followed him, but when it
dropped down on the road, closer to him, he threw
rocks at it with one hand while continuing to talk
with his cell phone in the other hand. The phone
went dead at one point after the cougar had picked
up the pace.
When hurling rocks did not deter the cougar's
advance, the man decided his best bet was to run.
about a study recently released (in April of 2009)
suggested that those who run from a cougar
may have a better chance of escaping injury than
those standing their ground. This study was based on
analyzing attacks data gathered since 1890. Headlines
regarding this study were misleading, however, and the
caveat that running should be chosen only under
special circumstances was downplayed. In addition,
experts with actual field experience confronting
lions disputed the notion that running should be
considered a good option. Tobe Sprado is one
emphasizing that his department does not
In this case, when the man fled, the cougar pounced
on the him, knocking him down, as generally would be
predicted. But the man still had rocks in hand
which he used to strike the cat in the face. He got
the cougar off him, and the cougar retreated into
the bush. Shaken up but not significantly injured,
the man walked a couple of hundred meters down the
road before being met by RCMP and taken to Royal
Inland Hospital where he was released with no cuts
or scratches noted and apparently suffering only
neck pain from falling.
Officials tried unsuccessfully to track and/or trap
the cougar. Conservation officer Sprado said a check
early May 14th, 2009, revealed no signs of the cat
at any of the bait stations. The man described
the cougar as similar in size to a greyhound, and
it may have been thin. Since the man was able
to fight it off successfully on his own, it was
theorized that it might have been sick, elderly, or
a juvenile. Among those possibilities, Sprado
speculated it was likely that the cougar was an
Because this attack was positively verified by a
conservation officer and an RCMP constable, and
because there were undoubtedly minor injuries in the
form of the neck pain noted and probable bruising
not noted, this report is listed here on my main
attacks page and not on the non-injury page where
attacks resulting in little or no contact are
Sources: (Calgary Herald;
B.C. man fights off cougar, walks away unhurt;
By Cheryl Chan, Vancouver Province; Canwest News Service 05/14/2009)
(Sun Peaks Independent News Magazine;
Man escapes cougar encounter;
by Lailani Mendoza; 05/15/2009)
Hitchhiker flees claws of cougar: Man escapes attack unharmed ;
by Nadia Moharib, Sun Media, The Calgary Sun; 05/15/2009)
(The Globe and Mail;
Cougar attacks man in B.C. Interior;
(CFJC TV7 News Headlines;
Cougar Elusive for Conservation; 05/14/2009)
(The Sacramento Bee;
If you run across a mountain lion, maybe it's better to run away;
By Matt Weiser; 04/15/2009)
(Phone contact with Tobe Sprado; 05/21/2009)
25 May | 13 June. Read 2 incidents in 2 states involving defending
16 June. At about 6:45 p.m. an 80 pound, apparently
healthy, yearling, male cougar attacked 3-year-old Maya
Espinosa/Espinoza from behind as she and her mother were walking
with their dog and picking berries in the Brackendale area
near Squamish, British Columbia, possibly on a trail around
the Howe Sound area. Reports said they were in Fisherman's
Park near the Squamish River. The attack on Tuesday ironically
came just before the family was set to move to Mexico on
Saturday. Maya's mother, Maureen Lee (Mo) thought this
walk would be a peaceful break from a day of packing for
As Mo bent down to pick a berry, she saw something out of
the corner of her eye. It was the cougar coming to attack
her child. Maya thought the cat was trying to play when
it pushed her down. Later she wanted to know why it didn't
The mother said:
All of a sudden it just flew on her, rolled her a couple of
times and grabbed her under its belly like in the fetal
position. She was on her back and (the cougar) had his paws
on her head, and I just knew I had to react quick. So I just
jumped in there and wedged myself between the cougar and her
on the ground. I just got up and threw it off my back and
grabbed (Maya) and (ran).
As they ran, Maya was bleeding from her head and arm. Mo
didn't know if the cougar was following them, and she
was afraid to look back. The attack had felt calm, but now
fear began to kick in, and Mo screamed as they retreated.
They reached the safety of a neighbor's house. The neighbor
had also been out walking, and helped stop Maya's bleeding
Maya ended up with puncture wounds to her left arm and head.
The wounds seemed more severe at first but an air ambulance
was called off before it arrived, as the child's injuries
were not as serious as first believed. RCMP Cpl. David Ritchie
said the girl was stabilized at Squamish General Hospital and
released that night.
Conservation officers used dogs and their handlers to track
a cougar through several yards before finally shooting it
after 10 p.m. the same night. Other incidents had occurred
in the same area, with another (thin) cougar having been
shot the previous Saturday (06/13/2009) after attacking and
eating a dog on a leash. Public broadcaster CBC said there
had been more than 30 encounters with the big cats reported
in the past 10 days. Six encounters with cougars were
reported on Friday (06/12/2009) alone.
Despite this alarming spike in the number of area
encounters and the very recent death of a dog, dragged off
its leash, taken up a tree, and eaten, Maya's mother said
"I don't want [Maya] to be afraid of the forest. I don't
want her to be afraid of picking berries. I want her to
understand that this was a unique situation."
She lectured this also despite earlier admitting she had heard
about the cougar attacks on dogs, and her mom had called
her Tuesday morning to warn her--a warning that came back
to haunt her as she ran to safety, cradling Maya in her
arms. "As I was running, I thought of that: My mom's going
to kill me," Mo said. Ignored also must have been Mo's
own fear which caused her to scream continuously once her
adrenalin ran low, though now she wished to impress upon
her child that she should be brave and not afraid of a
cougar with which Mo felt she had had a connection.
Meanwhile, wildlife officers went out on the trails in
and around Squamish in the next days, looking for MORE cougars.
Conservation officers kill cougar linked to attack on Squamish B.C., girl;
Mother fought off cougar to save toddler from attack: 2nd cougar shot by officials in Squamish B.C. this week;
CBC News; 06/17/2009)
(The Edmonton Sun;
B.C. girl, 3, in hospital after cougar attack;
By Sunny Dhillon, The Canadian Press; 06/17/2009)
(CTV British Columbia;
Three-year-old girl attacked by cougar in Squamish;
(Google Hosted News;
Canadian mom fights off cougar, saves daughter;
(The Vancouver Sun;
Mom pulls three-year-old daughter from cougar's grasp in Squamish;
By Rebecca TeBrake and Darah Hansen; 06/17/2009 & Cougar that attacked child in Squamish was a yearling; by Rebecca teBrake; 06/19/2009)
(The Globe and Mail;
'Now she knows what a cougar is';
By Cathryn Atkinson; 06/17/2009)
04 July. At about 4 p.m. a seven-year-old boy whose
family withheld his name from researchers was attacked by a
cougar in the Pinnacle Park area near Quesnel, British Columbia,
about 75 miles south of Prince George. The anonymous boy, his
mother, and his five-year-old brother were out walking the
trails in the provincial park when they strayed slightly out
of bounds. They were almost 2 kilometers down a path from
the parking lot when the incident occurred. The victim was
walking approximately seven meters in front of the mother
and five-year-old brother when he turned to look back.
"That's when the cougar jumped out of the bush and onto his
back," field supervisor for the Cariboo/Chilcotin zone,
Conservation Office Service and the Ministry of Environment,
Michael Krause said.
The mom quickly closed in to protect her son. Upon seeing the
mother approach, the cougar jumped off, Krause said, "It was a
sudden attack and a brief attack."
The boy sustained scratches to his head, right cheek, ear, and
back. Some stitching was required to close the wounds.
In response to the attack, Pinnacles Park was closed by noon
the next day in order for the Predator Attack Team members
to begin their investigation and start tracking the cougar.
Team personnel traveled from Kamloops, Clearwater, and
100 Mile House. This specialized team included an officer with
hounds specifically trained to hunt cougars.
"They set up traps and snares," Krause said. "They also
used a night electronic predator call which emits sounds
to lure the animal to the traps." As of 07/07/2009, there was
no success in capturing the predator, and Krause said there
was no indication the cougar was still in the area. The team
pulled out of the area late that morning. BC Parks and
Protected Area staff planned to monitor the site until
07/10/2009 when the park was expected to re-open.
"As far as I know this is the first recorded human attack in
Quesnel," Krause said. "There are no recorded attacks on humans
in the past 25 years at least, although we get about six
complaints a year about cougars attacking pets or livestock,
so they are definitely around."
Cougar attacks seven-year-old;
By Autumn MacDonald - Quesnel Cariboo Observer; 07/07/2009)
Cougar attacks boy near Quesnel;
by Frank Peebles, Citizen staff; 07/07/2009)
11 July. A Moscow, Idaho man, unwilling to be identified, reported he was
attacked by a mountain lion at about 6:00 in the evening while
camping southwest of Elk River, Idaho, close to the Elk Creek Falls
trailhead. The approximately 160 pound, 5'6" man in his early
30's told Fish and Game Conservation
Officer Barry Cummings that he was gathering firewood when the
lion pounced on his back, knocking him to the ground. He said he
and the lion then rolled down a hillside coming to a stop on a
log. During the struggle, the victim grabbed a knife and stabbed
the mountain lion in the side, causing it to run into the timber.
After the attack, the man told Officer Cummings that he returned
to his campsite, where he and his girlfriend gathered up their
belongings and then drove to his Moscow residence.
They contacted authorities at about 9:30 p.m. The man did not seek
medical treatment but reported that he suffered abrasions to his
legs and minor scratches to the inside of one forearm, and to his
The unnamed victim and Cummings returned to the scene with a local
houndsmen and three tracking hounds early Sunday morning. The area
was searched from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. but, as is frequently the
case, efforts to pick up the lion's scent were unsuccessful--despite
a probable blood scent from a wound inflicted by the man with his
Man reports mountain lion attack near Elk River;
Man attacked by mountain lion;
AP from Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com; 07/14/2009)
(phone interview with Fish and Game Officer Barry Cummings; 07/18/2009)
12 July. At about 6:00 p.m., 32-year-old mechanic and ex-Marine
Dustin Britton of Windsor, Colorado, fought off a 4-5 year old male
cougar that attacked him while he was alone, cutting firewood with a
chain saw about 100 feet from his vacation campsite in the Shoshone
National Forest about 27 miles west of Cody, Wyoming. His wife Kirsta,
their two young children, and the family dog were back in camp.
At first he was startled to see the 100-pound lion staring at him
from some bushes about 20 feet away. All he could see was the lion's
head. Alarmed, Britton ran backwards into a clearing, doubling the
distance between him and the lion. He was incredulous that the lion
seemed neither afraid of him nor the noise of his 18" chain saw
that he had revved up to deter any advance by the cougar. He kept
revving his saw and watching the cougar for about 3 seconds before
it followed him out of the brush into the open and then charged
right at him. When it lunged, saw raised, he met the lion
head-on in a collision he described as feeling like a grown man
running directly into him.
The impact pushed him back a few steps, but Britton said, because
he was ready for the blow, he undoubtedly reacted with
pure muscle memory from his Marine training and managed to
retain an upright stance. "It batted me three or
four times with its front paws, and as quick as I hit it with that
saw, it just turned away," he said in a telephone interview with
The Associated Press. "You would think if you hit an animal with
a chain saw, it would dig right in," he said. "I might as well have
hit it with a hockey stick."
Then, with the saw still at full throttle, he hit the cougar as
hard as he could, aiming for the cougar's neck. The cougar got
down, and it left. It didn't leave in a hurry, Britton said, but
when it did, he returned to the campsite to secure his family.
Both his dog and his 2-year-old were with him in the same spot
just 5 minutes before. "Whatever you call it, higher power, grace
of God...luck, my son decided to stay back, and I tied the dog up,"
he said. Assessing their situation, Britton and his family decided
to spend the night in their pop-up camper with their dog in the
car rather than risk packing up to leave with the lion still on
the loose. Wildlife agents were not called until the next
morning after Britton told a passing U.S. Forest Service employee
about the incident.
Officials began a search for the cougar when they were notified,
and the lion was shot and killed when it attacked and wounded a
dog brought in to track it. Authorities say the lion was in poor
physical condition. It was emaciated and appeared to be starving.
"Given the animal's low body weight - male lions in Wyoming
typically weigh 140 to 150 pounds - it may have attacked Britton
out of desperation," said Mark Bruscino, a Wyoming Fish and Game
biologist who responded to the incident. Tests for rabies and
other diseases came up negative, but officials said they were
continuing to analyze the animal's condition.
More successful than it had seemed while battling, after the
lion had been shot, Britton discovered he had inflicted a
six- to eight-inch gash on the lion's shoulder if not in its
neck. Considering his weapon, he said he was surprised the
damage wasn't worse. Britton himself sustained only a small
puncture wound on his forearm.
Man fends off lion attack with chain saw;
By Matthew Brown; Associated Press; 07/17/2009)
Man uses chain saw in Wyo. mountain lion attack;
Matthew Brown-more expanded coverage; for AP; 07/17/2009)
(Mother Nature Network;
Mountain Lion Attack;
Green News Roundup; Daily Briefing; 07/17/2009)
Man fights off mountain lion with chain saw;
(ABC News - GMA;
Man Fights Mountain Lion With chain saw:
Man on a Family Vacation Warded Off Mountain Lion Attack; by Lauren Cox;
(KKCO Grand Junction;
Man fends off mountain lion with chainsaw;
Reporter KKCO/9 NEWS; 07/20/2009)
(Telephone interview with Wyoming Fish and Game officer Mark Bruscino 07/21/2009 )
11 or 12 August. Older big dog guards elderly master from circling cougars after mishap:
Read report HERE
A 5-year-old Canadian boy Simon Impey was attacked by a cougar in the far
northeastern corner Washington State while hiking with his parents and sister
on the remote Abercrombie Mountain trail along Silver Creek in the Colville
National Forest, in Stevens County, near the town of Northport, Washington.
The father Mark Impey was walking about 50 meters ahead with his 7-year-old
daughter when he heard the screams of his wife and Simon. He assumed they had
been stung by wasp(s), but when he ran back, he saw that a big cat had his
son Simon by the head, and his wife Dawn Manning was trying furiously to fend
the animal off with a metal water bottle. Dawn and Simon had been eating
huckleberries and had been crouched down low. She saw her son stumble, and when
she looked over, the cougar had her son's head in it's mouth. The cougar had
jumped out from a brushy area and attacked Simon. Dawn's repeated blows with
the water bottle finally forced the cougar to retreat into the bush. Manning
said she thought she hit the cat three or four times, but her husband said it
looked more like a hockey fight. Simon's face and Dawn's hands were covered
in blood, so they covered Simon's head with a hoodie before heading out for
help. "We were quite frightened," Mark said. "We picked
up sticks, I put Simon on my shoulders, and we carried him down (to the car)."
It took about an hour to hike back to the vehicle, and Impey says his
brave little boy didn't cry or complain once. Not knowing whether the cat
was going to continue to stalk them made for a very tense situation. Manning
said the family stayed close together and made lots of noise in the hopes of
keeping the cougar away. Conservation officials, who had been hunting for the
cat since the day after the attack, told Impey the cougar had, indeed,
followed the family all the way back to the car, but fortunately chose not
to attempt a second attack.
Once they got to the car, Impey headed straight for the nearby border
crossing and the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital 25 miles away,
as the family was from Rossland in Southern British Columbia.
At the border station, he honked his way ahead of two waiting cars.
"I got out of the car and told them it was an emergency and they backed
up," he said. "I gave the border guard our passports and told him to tell
the hospital we were coming, and he waved us through." Impey said relief
came soon after reaching the hospital in Trail, BC. "Right away, they
determined it wasn't life-threatening, and that calmed us down," he said.
Simon was expected to make a full recovery. The father said, "He's happy
and is being quite active and is quite calm about the whole thing."
After being informed of the attack the next day, Washington wildlife
official and regional enforcement supervisor in Spokane, Captain Mike
Whorton said that Washington wildlife officers were sent to the
scene, and from where blood and cougar tracks were found, they began
searching for the attacking cat. Department officers contacted local
hounds trained to tree cougars to assist in searching for the cougar.
Whorton noted that if the animal is found, it will be killed. "When
human life is threatened in this way, we take no chances. Cougars that
have attacked people clearly pose a continuing public safety risk and
are euthanized if they are captured." Colville Forest officials said
they would be posting warning signs at the
trailhead where the attack occurred.
Sources: (The Spoksman-Review;
by Rich Landers; 09/03/2009)
(The Seattle Times;
Report of cougar closes Seattle park;
By George Tibbits, Associated Press Writer; 09/03/2009)
5-Year-Old Hurt in Washington State Cougar Attack;
The Associated Press; 09/03/2009)
5-year-old hurt in Wash state cougar attack;
The Associated Press; 09/03/2009)
B.C. boy recovering from cougar attack;
By Sunny Dhillon, The Canadian Press; 09/05/2009)
Mother fights off cougar during attack on son, 5;
same story as above By Sunny Dhillon, The Canadian Press, cited for 2nd family handout photo provided; 09/06/2009)
B.C. boy attacked by cougar doing well;
CBC News; 09/06/2009)
7-year-old David Metzler Jr. was attacked in the morning by a 30 kilogram female
cougar while sledding with his 5-year-old sister Doris in Danskin, B.C., on a
small hill next to the Mennonite church his mother Mary, 30, had volunteered to
clean. His 2-year-old brother Joseph was inside the church with his mother
in the play area. When Doris fell off the sled, David ran to help her up.
Then the two saw the cougar just meters away. Doris screamed. At first the
children froze in place. Then David made a run for the church door, but the
cougar took the boy to the ground 3 meters before he reached it. With the
cougar holding her brother down, Doris fled around the corner of the church
so she could get in without encountering the cougar. She kept running until
she circled the building and found her mother who had driven the cougar
away in that short time.
When Mary Metzler heard her children's frantic screams, she ran across the play
room and glanced out the window where she could see David being mauled. At first
she did not know it was a cougar, but she knew an animal was on top of her son.
Realizing she had no time to call for help, she ran outside. Pinned face down in
the snow by the cougar, David was already bleeding from wounds to his scalp and
back when his mother arrived, armed with nothing but a cleaning towel.
In an instant Mary charged across the distance from the church door toward
her son. The cougar's mouth was at David's head and David's toque was dangling
from the cougar's mouth. The cougar looked up and stared eye to eye with Mary.
With what had to be the most unlikely weapon ever used against a cougar, Mary
wound up the towel and whacked the startled cougar so hard that it fled.
She scooped up David and ran back into the safety of the church. Then
she realized she had David but that Doris was missing and nowhere to be seen.
Mary ran outside again just as Doris came racing around the corner of
the church. Her eyes were big, but she was safe.
Mary stanched David's head with the towel and then gathered her three children
together into her van. Then they raced for the nearby ferry terminal so they
could make the 40 minute trek to the hospital in Burns Lake, B.C. A paramedic
who happened to be on the ferry reassured her that
David, still bleeding from the head, would be OK. Mary prayed.
David needed 22 stitches to close the gash on his head. He also had puncture
wounds on his back, and his right eye was swollen shut immediately after
the attack. The attack happened on a Thursday morning. By Monday, David
recovered well enough to be back in school, but initially he had trouble
sleeping, and it was hard for him to hear conversation about his ordeal. Mary
had always assured her children that such incidents only happen in the bush.
"I can't say that anymore," she said.
Sergeant Gary Van Spengen, a senior conservation officer, said two
conservation officers from Burns Lake, Mark West and Jeff Palm, heard about
the cougar attack from hospital staff. They went immediately to the scene
and were soon following, not one set of tracks, but the tracks of two
cougars near the church. They lost the animals at dark, but the next morning,
helped by cougar hunters with dogs, they found the pair, two females weighing
about 36 kilograms and 30 kilograms, and shot them both. The cougars' bodies
will be sent for necropsies to determine if any condition, injury, or disease
may have contributed to the cougar(s) choosing to attack easy prey.
Sources: (The Globe and Mail | British Columbia;
Mom fends off cougar with cleaning rag in second B.C. attack;
by Mark Hume; 01/04/2010)
(CTV.ca British Columbia;
Boy recovering after cougar attack in northern B.C.; ctvbc.ca; 01/04/2010 )
(Google News | Canadian Press;
B.C. boy attacked by cougar doesn't want to hear talk of his ordeal;
The Canadian Press; 01/05/2009)
(The Vancouver Sun;
Dog who saved B.C. boy from cougar still in veterinary hospital;
Tiffany Crawford; 01/05/2009)
(2 Injury Reports, 2 unconfirmed-as-by-cougar Attacks, 1 Pet Attack)
02 January. Adopted dog saves 11-year-old boy in British Columbia:
03 January. Man may have been attacked by a cougar on San Marcos Pass in California:
06 June. Andy Bell, 30, was working on a pump outside his
Walker, Arizona, home on Sunday just after dark
(about 9:00 to 9:30) when he heard some rustling in the
bushes. His flashlight revealed what he thought was a mountain lion
about eight feet away. Bell ran for his home and was pounced on from
behind near his truck. Bell rolled under the truck. He believes the
cougar hit its head on the trailer hitch on the back of the truck
instead, and the cat fled.
"This was the most terrifying moment of my life," Bell said. "I was
just trying to get away as fast as I could." Bell said he knew he
shouldn't run, but that he was so close to his house his only thought
was getting away. "I was running as fast as I could downhill," he said.
"It all happened so fast. I'm convinced it was the trailer hitch that
saved my life."
Bob Posey, regional supervisor in Kingman, said that running from
the scene may have triggered an attack that could have been avoided
if Bell had aggressively stood his ground: "stand tall, make a lot
of noise, throw things if something can be reached without bending
down, and, if all else fails, fight back with anything at your
Bell was treated for several injuries caused by the fall as well as
a 2-inch scratch on his shoulder that he said came from one of the
mountain lion's claws.
The attack occurred near Walker's Snow Drift Mine area just
southeast of Prescott. On Monday Wildlife Services attempted to
track the mountain lion after partial tracks were found. Tracking
dogs were unable to pick up a scent, and the search was called off
Tuesday morning. "There were a lot of dog and vehicle tracks around
the area and the landscape itself made it difficult to investigate,"
said Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Kingman Game
and Fish office.
Several subsequent sightings from neighbors kept officials on the
lookout in the area for the attacking cat. Following up on a
report Wednesday, 06/09, Arizona Game and Fish Department returned
to the area on Thursday and began searching again with dogs. The
dogs did track a lion's movements around the area, but did not
locate the mountain lion. On Friday morning, 06/11, officials
located and killed a mountain lion less than half a mile away
from and within sight of Bell's home.
Officials estimated this female lion was 6 to 7 years old and
weighed approximately 75 pounds. The size of the lion was
consistent with the tracks found at the attack site. Though there
was no way to be 100-percent certain this was the responsible
animal without DNA material to submit for testing, her size and
proximity to the attack scene made it very likely. Officials
planned to conduct a full necropsy on the animal and to submit
the head for rabies testing to help determine if disease or
other physical ailment influenced the animal's behavior.
Game and Fish said it would continue to monitor the neighborhood
for lion activity as a public safety precaution. Calls from
neighbors indicated this mountain lion had remained in close
proximity to a number of homes. "An attack by a predatory animal
is not something you take lightly," said Jeff Pebworth, wildlife
program manager in Kingman. "Public safety needs to be a priority
in a case like this, and our protocol is clear in regards to
action. Had this mountain lion left the area, it's possible we
wouldn't have heard anything else about this incident."
(AXfamily.com; Yahoo News;
Prescott man says he was attacked by mountain lion;
by Jennifer Thomas; azfamily.com; 06/09/2010)
(The Daily Courier;
Walker man details lion attack;
by Joanna Dodder Nellans; 06/09/2010)
by the Associated Press; 06/09/2010)
(The Daily Courier;
Wildlife officers kill lion after report of Walker attack;
Special to the Courier; 06/11/2010)
17 October. About 1:00 a.m. 17-year-old Kendra Rutter was returning
home from her
babysitting job in Divide, Colorado, about 20 miles west of Colorado Springs.
The approximately 5' 4" teen was on County Road 51 when she
thought she might have a flat tire, so she pulled onto the shoulder of the
road and got out to check. When she went around the front of her Jeep and
crouched down at the passenger side front tire, the cat pounced on her out of
the shadows. Kendra immediately turned toward her attacker and jumped back,
but she felt its paw contact her shoulder. This blow knocked her from within
the road's gravel shoulder onto the pavement.
The cat paced back and forth a bit, and when it approached her again, Kendra
waited for the right distance and kicked the cougar as hard as she could in
the head. Kendra thinks her blow caught the cougar just behind it's jaw. This
deterred the cougar, and it retreated. Rutter got in her car and raced home.
She told Channel 11, KKTV News that fighting back was pure instinct.
Though one leg scratch went down clear to the muscle, Kendra treated her own
wounds to her leg and shoulder, but she did update her tetanus shot to be
safe. The aggressive cat had attacked from behind. "I didn't think I'd make
it out with my life," she said. Kendra was so concentrated on her
immediate defense that she doesn't recall if she yelled at the cat or screamed.
Cuts on her shoulder and leg, along with torn, blood-stained jeans indicate
how close Rutter came to being killed.
The cat may have been small, just a few feet tall, coming up to the girl's
knees. The DOW set a trap to catch the mountain lion. If caught, it would be
put down since it attacked a human.
Source: (KKTV.com, TV Channel 11;
11 Exclusive: Teen Attacked By Mountain Lion;
Rick Montanez; 10/18/2010) (Phone interview with Kendra Rutter 10/25/2010, 5:00 pm)
01 December. First man to be attacked in Alabama in modern times may have taken place:
[Beier's Study Span 1890-1990]
This page contains explicit attack accounts of incidents involving
injury that I have found in order for those who live with lions or recreate
in their territory to get an idea how to respond to threatening cougars.
Though I have made every effort to report all attacks resulting in injury,
unlike Paul Beier's reports from 1890 to 1990, which he felt were very close
to complete, I suspect my list after 1990 is incomplete. Because I do not
have a biologists' credentials and resources, I must rely on news reports
and reports from "scouts" I have in various locations. Feel free to be a
scout for this research. Meanwhile, be aware that the data here may fall short
of the goal to reveal all injury attacks. If you know of an attack not listed
here, please send an email to
Permission freely granted to reference or even reproduce this page
as long as links remain intact which credit all sources.