Cougar attacks mountain bikers on Washington trail



CNN

At least one Cougar Wildlife officials say a group of five mountain bikers were chased and struck on a trail in Washington on Saturday, injuring one cyclist.

Bicyclists caught the cougar and called emergency services before a wildlife officer arrived and killed the animal, while the second cougar fled, the King County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Wildlife officials said the attack took place around 12:30 pm on Saturday.

The sheriff's office said the mountain bikers were chased and attacked in the wilderness on Tocul Creek, about 5 miles north of Snoqualmie.

“A biker (female in her 60s) sustained claw or bite injuries from a cat during this incident,” the report continued. “The injured woman was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.”

The sheriff's office said preliminary reports indicated the bicyclists were chasing the cougar on bikes. KCSO deputies, wildlife agents and medical personnel responded to their 911 call.

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Police spokeswoman Becky Elder told CNN in an email that an officer shot the cougar.

“Fish and Wildlife personnel removed a subadult cougar at the scene, which is believed to be over six months old, although the exact age will be determined by officials once dental data is taken from the cougar,” Elder said.

A “hound handler” was brought in to track the second cougar, which witnesses said ran back into the wild. The department said in a press release.

The animal was not found until Saturday evening.

“The safety of the public is our priority, and usually in the event of a human-wildlife incident we will dangerously dispose of the animal involved,” Elder said.

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But cougar attacks on humans are “extremely rare,” he said.

“In Washington state, there have been two fatal cougar attacks and approximately 20 recorded encounters resulting in human injury in the past 100 years,” he said.

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