LARIMER COUNTY – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers confirmed the man who survived a mountain lion attack while running at Horsetooth Mountain Monday killed the juvenile mountain lion in self-defense.
The runner described hearing something behind him while running on the West Ridge Trail, and when he turned around the mountain lion lunged at him, biting his face and wrist.
Upon further investigation including examination of the mountain lion, CPW confirmed the victim, whose name has not been released, suffocated the animal in order to survive. The runner was able to leave the trail and drive himself to a local hospital.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for CPW said.
Wildlife officers searched the trail area and discovered the body of the juvenile mountain lion within feet of several of the victim’s possessions. The lion was taken to the CPW animal health lab for an autopsy.
Mountain lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than 20 deaths in North America in more than a century.
Since 1990, Colorado has received reports of 16 mountain lion attacks, and 3 deaths.
CPW says this is what you should do if you ever encounter a mountain lion:
- Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens
- Stay calm, speak calmly and firmly to it
- Move slowly and never turn your back to it, face the lion and stand up straight
- Do everything you can to appear larger, raise your arms, open your jacket if wearing one
- If you have small children, pick them up so they won’t panic and run
- If the lion is aggressive, throw stones, branches, whatever you can without crouching down or turning your back
- Fight back if a lion attacks you, target the eyes and nose because they are the most sensitive areas