Cougar attack on 8-year-old in Olympic was non-fatal

Cougar mountain lion national park service

At around 6:30 PM on Saturday, July 29, Olympic National Park officials were notified that a child had been attacked by a cougar while recreating at Lake Angeles.

The child, an 8-year-old, was camping with family when the mountain lion struck.

Thankfully, and according to Olympic’s media release, “The cougar casually abandoned its attack after being yelled and screamed at by the child’s mother.”

After the lion relinquished the child, park personnel quickly responded and the child’s medical condition was “assessed and stabilized.”

As a result, the 8-year-old, who’s identity is private, survived the attack with minor injuries and was taken to the local hospital for further evaluation. The family was escorted back to the nearby trailhead by park personnel following the attack.

Park authorities and wildlife personnel are currently attempting to track/locate the cougar.

All remaining campers in the Lake Angeles area have been evacuated. Access to the Lake Angeles and Heather Park areas are closed to the public until further notice.

“Due to the extreme nature of this incident, we are closing the Lake Angeles area and several trails in the vicinity,” offers Olympic National Park Wildlife Biologist, Tom Kay.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail, and the entire Klahane Ridge Trail are closed until further notice.”

The attack’s Lake Angeles location was in the Heart O’ the Hills area south of Port Angeles, near Hurricane Ridge.

Park Law Enforcement and Wildlife Personnel Tracking Mountain Lion
Following the attack, at around 5:00 AM on July 30, “Park law enforcement and wildlife personnel specializing in cougar tracking were dispatched to the cougar’s last known point at Lake Angeles,” Olympic reports in their media release.

If the cougar is found, “it will be euthanized and removed from the park for a necropsy. This may provide clues as to why the animal attacked since cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare,” the park continues.

In kind, “Olympic National Park has extensive protocols in place for wildlife observations and interactions. Attacks and the lethal removal of this cougar is in line with these protocols.”

It is important to remember that the entirety of Olympic National Park is mountain lion/cougar territory.

Visitors must always prepare for an encounter. The following advice from park officials will help deter/prevent a mountain lion encounter:

  • It is recommended that visitors not hike or jog alone
  • Keep children within sight and close to adults
  • Leave pets at home and be alert to your surroundings when hiking
  • If you meet a cougar, it is important to not run because it could trigger the cougar’s attack instinct. Instead, people should group together. Appear as large as possible. Keep eyes on the animal. Make lots of noise and shout loudly.
  • Throwing rocks or objects at the cougar is also recommended

For more information on how to respond to a cougar encounter, visit Olympic National Park- Cougar Country.

Published by Jon D. B.

Author & Conservationist Founder @ National Park Outfitters Behavioral Husbandry via Nashville Zoo

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