List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks
In the United States and Canada
2001 - 2010

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 sources.

[Beier's Study Span 1890-1990] [1991-2000 attacks] [2011-2020 attacks] [Other Incidents]

Deaths are highlighted in red text.

2001    (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 HERE

02 January. Woman walking dog rescued by neighbor in Banff, Alberta.  See this non-injury report HERE

Frances Frost 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:  (Calgary Herald; 01/03/2001; 01/04/2001) (Banff Crag & Canyon News; 01/03/2001) (February 5, 2001 Issue of Wildlife Encounters; A lesson unlearned; Candis McLean)

31 January. Two biology students were stalked by a cougar while hiking in Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California.  See this non-injury report HERE

 Jon Nostdal and Elliot Cole 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.

 Wounds on Nostdal's Face 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) (Canada NewsWire; Campbell River Couple Survives Cougar Attack)

21 February. Couple attacked in their makeshift cabin near Rupert Arm, British Columbia. See this non-injury report HERE

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 genuine news. HERE

06 May. Man startles cougar with his sneeze on a lone hike in Oklahoma. See this non-injury report HERE

 David Wood 04 August. 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;)

2002    (4 Injury Reports, 1 Pet Report, 1 Non-injury Report)

 Click to Enlarge 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.

 Click to Enlarge 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.

 Click to Enlarge 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.  Sources:  (CH Victoria; 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) (The Province; 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)

 David Parker AFTER 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 cheekbone broken.

 Buck Knife  Male Cougar 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 logging ambulance. 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," said Parker. 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:  (Vancouver Sun; Man kills cougar in fight to survive; Jim Beatty; August 03, 2002) (Vancouver Sun; From the jaws of death; Jim Beatty; August 08, 2002) (Vancouver Sun; Cougar attack a fight to the death; Jim Beatty; August 08, 2002) (Times Colonist (Victoria); Survival Instinct; 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; 09/18/2002)

14 September. 4-Hers pet lamb killed in Healdsburg, California.  See this pet attack HERE

 Karina Jackson 18 September. 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 HERE

2003    (2 Injury Reports, including the death of an Arkansas woman, 1 Non-injury Report)

 Click for Leigh Ann's Bio 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 cougar.

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 negative articles about the bereaved Davisons that reflected Game and Fish's biases, apparently without examining the data in the case independently. By contrast, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (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 behavior.

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 news articles 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 their denial 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 Position Statement 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. See a humorous take 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 death?

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 statement regarding cougar tracks at the death scene ) (Expert dog attack witness Darren Huff's statement regarding forensic photos from the sheriff) (Associated Press; 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.)

 Chris Kerzman 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 disappeared.

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 HERE

2004    (4 Injury Reports, including the death of an adult, male, California cyclist)

08 January.
 Mark Jeffrey Reynolds
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.  Investigation Closes Park

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 HERE.

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 HERE.

08 January.
 Anne Hjelle
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 crucial factor.

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." Anne 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  Nicholls rescued Hjelle 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) (aolhealth.com; 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 incidents including his own.

 Shannon Parker After 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," Clack said.

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.

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 the road.

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.
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, be ready.

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) (SignOnSanDiego.com, the 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.

 Click for larger photo 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)

2005    (5 Injury Reports, 6 Non-injury Reports)

April. Oklahoma man has probable second cougar encounter alone at night. See this non-injury report HERE

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.

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.
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.

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) (CBC Edmunton; 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 HERE

24 June. 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 victim's.

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 HERE

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, Monique Bazille 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 very strange."

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; 07/28/2005) (Yahoo! Canada News; Canadian Press; 4-year-old girl in serious condition after Vancouver Island cougar attack; 07/28/2005) (Canadian Press - Nanaimo; Child 'doing well' after cougar attack; 07/28/2005) (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 HERE

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) (Mylo's Blog; Read 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 HERE

2006    (5 Injury Reports, 2 Non-injury Reports)

27 January. Texas camper surprises cougar which returns to stalk him. See this non injury report HERE

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; 04/17/2006) (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 HERE

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 Wenatchee, Washington published here.

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.

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 deputy.

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 stimulus.

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 hanks.

Sgt. D. Ward
Sources: (Reported on King5; Seattle, Washington) (KPQ Radio; 560 AM; Wenatchee, Washington; Man recounts cougar attack; 04/20/2006)

06 May. 22-year-old Hugh Faust just wanted to sneak in some bird watching before the post-graduation  Click to See Full Sized Photo 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).

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 crouched.

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.
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).

Sources: (email from Hugh's mother, Lynn Frierson Faust; 05/20/2006) (Water and Woods Net; Student Fends Off Mountain Lion; 05/17/2006) (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.

"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 bleeding.

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.
One has to wonder if Ms Freeman meant no OTHER confirmed accounts in Graham County.

Source: Eastern Arizona Courier; Pima man recovering from lion bite; By Diane Saunders; 08/22/2006

 
 

Paul Krismer fought off a cougar that had attacked his son, Paul Daniel, at a site near Campbell River Aug. 18.

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.

"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; 08/25/2006) (Canada.com; 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

2007    (2 Injury Reports, 1 Pet Injury Report)

 Click for more photos 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 kill him."

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 disappeared."

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. Nell eventually 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 treatment.

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. Physicians 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 area.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Rudy Buntic says the operation was one of the most difficult procedures he's ever performed. 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, January 24.

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 siblings. 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 head. 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.

"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."
Sources: (NBC11.com/San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland; Wife Saves Husband From Mountain Lion; 01/25/2007 and 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; AP; 01/252007) (The Eureka Reporter; Man Attacked By Mountain Lion; by Christine Bensen-Messinger; 1/25/2007 and Man stable after mountain lion attack; 01/27/2007) (The Times-Standard; 'I knew it was going to kill him'; 01/26/2007 and 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) (NBCSandiego.com; 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) (CBS NEWS; 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) (KRON4.com; Mountain Lion Victim Heads Home to Long Rehabilitation; interview material from Toan Lam; 02/13/2007) (latimes.com; 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) (SF Gate; Couple's lesson in survival from '07 cougar attack; By Peter Fimrite; 06/23/2012)

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 of Kamloops.

Wednesday after dinner, Colton was walking alone toward the campground outhouse 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 upper chest.

  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 sheep. Why?

Sources: (Yahoo News: Reuters; CORRECTED: Canadian boy feels "ripped off" by cougar attack; 08/02/2007) (canada.com; '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; 08/05/2007) (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; 08/03/2007) (FOXNews.com: Associated Press; Man Pulls 12-Year-Old's Head From Cougar's Jaws; 08/03/2007) (cnews AcrossCanada; B.C. man fights cougar, saves boy); by Bill Kaufmann, Sun media, The Calgary Sun; 08/03/2007) (Vancouver Province; 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) (globeandmail.com; 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 HERE

27 August. Canmore Woman selflessly defends her small dog in the jaws of a cougar. See this pet attack HERE

2008    (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 HERE

 Click for more photos 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 lunch.

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 picked up."

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; 03/11/2008) (The Arizona Republic Rabid mountain lion attacks El Mirage boy; by Lily Leung; 03/10/2008) (azfamily.com; Mountain lion that attacked boy has rabies; 03/10/2008)

06 April. Girl's cell phone calls brother to save her from stalking BC cougar. See this non-injury attack HERE

17 May. 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 Albuquerque's KOAT 05/18/2008.

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. Based on 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.

Sources: (www.charlotteoobserver.com; 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) (abcNEWS; 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 night.

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 the area.

Background:
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.

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 upsetting. "I have been scared since Tuesday," she said. "There is not a time I go out now that I don't look around."

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 Intro Page) - Linda Lewis
Sources: (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; 1. Officials capture, kill mountain lion near PA | 2. Brother remembers victim of lion attack; 06/26/2008) (emails from Judy Tucker 06/21/2008-06/24/2008)

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.

Sources: (kval.com; Hunters searching for cougar that scratched Grand Coulee boy; Associated Press; 09/17/2008) (kxly.com; Cougar attacks boy in Coulee Dam; 09/17/2008)

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."

Sources: (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 Mary Saether/Sather 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) (MercuryNews.com; 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 HERE

2009    (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 Sprado.

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. Widely published articles 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 recommend running.

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 inexperienced youngster.

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 recorded.

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) (cnews; 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; CTV; 05/14/2009) (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 Chihuahuas HERE!

Click to see news photos 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 the move.

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 play nice. 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 with compresses.

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.

Sources: (Canada East; Conservation officers kill cougar linked to attack on Squamish B.C., girl; 06/17/2009) (CBCnews.ca; 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; 06/16/2009) (Google Hosted News; Canadian mom fights off cougar, saves daughter; appeared 06/17/2009) (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."

Sources: (bclocalnews.com; Cougar attacks seven-year-old; By Autumn MacDonald - Quesnel Cariboo Observer; 07/07/2009) (pgcitizen.ca; 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 stomach.

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 knife.

Sources: (DNews.com; Man reports mountain lion attack near Elk River; 07/14/2009) (KTRV-TV; 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)

Click for news photos 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.

Sources: (Taiwan News; Man fends off lion attack with chain saw; By Matthew Brown; Associated Press; 07/17/2009) (Google News; 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) (boston.com; Man fights off mountain lion with chain saw; AP; 07/18/2009) (ABC News - GMA; Man Fights Mountain Lion With chain saw: Man on a Family Vacation Warded Off Mountain Lion Attack; by Lauren Cox; video interview; 07/18/2009) (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

02 September. Click to see Simon before surgery 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 hunters with 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) (foxnews.com; 5-Year-Old Hurt in Washington State Cougar Attack; The Associated Press; 09/03/2009) (King5.com; 5-year-old hurt in Wash state cougar attack; The Associated Press; 09/03/2009) (CNews; B.C. boy recovering from cougar attack; By Sunny Dhillon, The Canadian Press; 09/05/2009) (The Record; 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) (CBCNews.ca; B.C. boy attacked by cougar doing well; CBC News; 09/06/2009)

31 December. 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)

2010    (2 Injury Reports, 2 unconfirmed-as-by-cougar Attacks, 1 Pet Attack)

02 January. Adopted dog saves 11-year-old boy in British Columbia: Click HERE

03 January. Man may have been attacked by a cougar on San Marcos Pass in California:
HERE

06 June. Andy Bell, 30, was working on a pump outside his Andy Bell 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 disposal."

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."

Sources: (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) (NAZtoday.com; ; 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 Click for news photos 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: Click HERE

[Beier's Study Span 1890-1990] [1991-2000 attacks] [2011-2020 attacks] [Other Incidents]

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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.
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