Cougar Attacks Two Bicyclists in Washington State, Killing One

Experts Say There Was

State orders pathology tests on cougar that attacked bicyclists

Two mountain bikers were attacked by a mountain lion and one was killed in Washington state on Saturday, despite doing almost everything right during the confrontation.

Myers identified the deceased victim, a 32-year-old Seattle resident, as S.J. Brooks.

The King County Sheriff's Office said the two men were riding bikes on a gravel road when the cougar attacked.

When the cougar released him, Sederbaum jumped back on his mountain bike to get away. But authorities said Sunday medical personnel upgraded his condition to "satisfactory".

But the young cougar could have been emaciated, he said, "because they tend to travel 120 miles to find territory".

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"The fact that it stayed in close proximity with these folks and attacked, and stayed with them is highly, highly unusual", said Capt. Alan Myers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Myers said they will then compare reports and use forensic analysis and DNA to verify the cougar that was captured was the one that attacked the victim.

He rode for 3 kilometres before he could get a cellphone signal to call 911. Officers with the state department of Fish and Wildlife tracked the cougar. One of the deputies fired a shot, scaring the animal away.

Males that age typically weigh upward of 140 pounds, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife website. "It'll be unbiased", said Rich Beausoleil, the state's bear and cougar specialist.

"It's very rare for cougars to behave in this way".

The cougar was eventually found up in a tree 200 yards away from the den, Myers said. He said the two friends were biking just before noon when the cougar suddenly appeared and started to chase them.

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Cougars, also known as mountain lions and pumas, are a protected species.

Wildlife officials however say more cougar attacks have been reported in the western United States and Canada over the past 20 years than in the previous 80. "What we've learned is with wolves, cougars, and coyotes is actually killing them has the opposite effect, it throws them in what scientists refer to as social chaos".

The attack on Saturday near North Bend, about 48 kilometres east of Seattle, was the first fatal cougar attack in the state in 94 years.

The last deadly attack in Washington state was back in 1924, when a 13-year-old boy was killed. "This was an animal that was not healthy, and in its last attempts to try to survive did something it ordinarily wouldn't".

He said that people should fight back.

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