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Trail Runner Attacked By Juvenile Mountain Lion At Horsetooth Mountain Park

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say a juvenile mountain lion attacked a trail runner at Horsetooth Mountain Park Monday afternoon. The man was on the West Ridge Trail when he was attacked from behind.

The cat reportedly bit his face and wrist. He also suffered puncture wounds to his arms, legs and back.

The runner survived after fighting off the cat and hiking to safety. He took himself to a hospital.

Officials said Monday night that the man actually killed the lion in self-defense. They later found the animal's body. It will be taken to a lab for a necropsy.

"The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did," said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region manager.

Since 1990, there have been 16 injuries as a result of mountain lion attacks and three fatalities in Colorado.

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly and never turn your back on it.
  • Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you're wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won't panic and run.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back.
  • Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully.
  • We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas. Remain standing or try to get back up!
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