Mountain bikers in fatal cougar assault did everything right, authorities say

Surviving cyclist in satisfactory condition in hospital as official says bikers tried to scare the mountain lion and then hit it

A mountain biker who was killed by a cougar near Seattle and his friend who escaped after the animal attacked him did everything right, authorities have said.

The two men were riding on a trail in the Cascade Mountain foothills on Saturday when the mountain lion began following them. Authorities said they did everything nation guidelines advise: getting off their bikes, constructing noise and trying to scare the animal away. One even smacked it with his bike, after it charged.

The cougar ran off but returned and assaulted when the men got back on their bikes. It bit one- the survivor- on the head and shook him. The second cyclist operate and the animal fell the first victim and pounced, killing its victim and dragging him back to what appeared to be its lair, Sgt Ryan Abbott of King county sheriff’s department said.

” They did everything they were supposed to do ,” Abbott said on Sunday.” But something was wrong with this puma .”

The survivor was still in hospital on Sunday. A Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman, Susan Gregg, said the 31 -year-old man was in satisfactory condition.

Authorities would not confirm the names of the cyclists until the man who died, a 32 -year-old Seattle resident, was formally identified. That was expected on Monday.

The attack near North Bend, 30 miles east of Seattle, was the first fatal cougar assault in Washington nation in 94 years. The first man managed to get on his motorcycle and ride off, looking back to find his friend being dragged into the trees, Abbott said. The cyclist rode for two miles before he could get a cellphone signal to bellow 911.

When rescuers arrived, it took about half an hour to discover the second victim, who was dead with the cougar on top of him in what appeared to be a den-like region. An officer shot at the animal, which ran off. Several hours later, country fish and wildlife agents employed dogs to track the cougar to a nearby tree. They shot and killed it.

Authorities planned to match DNA taken from the animal with Dna from the main victims to be certain they killed the right cougar. They also plan to examine the puma to watch what might have been wrong with it.

There are an estimated 2,000 cougars in Washington. Until the 1960 s, the nation paid hunters a bounty for killing them. Now it allows 250 to be hunted in 50 designated zones. While they are sometimes known to kill livestock or pets, and though one even detected its route into a park in Seattle in 2009, encounters with people are rare.

Attacks have become more common, though, as people encroach on the animals’ province. In North America, there have been about 25 deadly assaults and 95 non-fatal assaults reported in the past century, but more attacks have been reported in the US west and Canada over the past 20 years than in the previous 80.

Experts say people encountering the big cats in the wild should stop and pick up small children immediately. Because operating and rapid motions can trigger the animal’s prey drive, people should not run. Instead they should face the puma, speak firmly and slowly back away, appearing as large as possible by standing on a stone or stump or opening a sweatshirt or coat.

People should also is more and more assertive if the cougar does not back down. If it does assault, people should fight back.

” The idea is to convince the puma that you are not preys but a potential threat ,” Washington state fish and wildlife advises on its website.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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