Sunday 20 May 2018

Cougar kills cyclist in Washington State, USA.

A cyclist has died after being attacked by a Cougar (or Mountain Lion, or Puma), Puma concolor, to the northeast of Snoqualmie, in King County, Washington, on Saturday 19 May 2018. The dead man was one of two mountain bikers who apparently disturbed the animal while out cycling, and who were initially able to drive off the Cougar by making themselves look larger and waving their arms about. However the Cat returned and attacked one of the men, causing his companion to dismount and try to tackle it. When the Cougar turned on him the man fled on foot (generally considered the worse course of action since Cougars can easily outpace us and typically attack prey from behind), leaving his injured friend to escape and seek help. The man's body was later found by trackers from the Washington Dapartment of Fish & Wildlife, who shot and killed the animal. The injured man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where his condition is now described as satisfactory.

Officers from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife with the body of a Cougar, which was tracked and shot after killing a cyclist on 19 May 2018. Seattle Times.

Cougars were formerly found throughout the Americas, with the exception of northern Canada and Alaska, however they are now largely restricted to the western parts of North America, where Human populations are lower and more of their original habitat remains. Nevertheless, Cougars are not thought to be a particularly threatened species, with a population of about 2100 adults in Washington State alone, where the population is 'controled' by licenced hunting. 

Attacks on Humans by Cougars are extremely rare, with less than a hundred fatalities recorded in the United States since 1890, and only a single other recorded fatality in Washington State in the last 94 years. The most recent Cougar-related fatality in the US was in New Mexico in 2008.

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