In the last 100 years, according to wildlife officials, there has been only one other fatal attack in Washington state.
One man is dead and another has been injured in a cougar attack just east of Seattle at North Bend, authorities said Saturday.
The two men were on a morning mountain bike ride in the foothills near North Bend when the attack occurred, King County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said.
The cougar ran into the woods, he said. The Seattle Times reported state officials tracked, shot and killed the cougar just before 3 p.m.
North Bend is about 30 miles east of Seattle. The injured victim, who is in his 40s, was airlifted to a hospital. He was initially listed in serious condition but has since been upgraded to satisfactory.
A search and rescue team had been dispatched to recover the body of the deceased man.
KIRO-TV reported that the injured man called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. and shouted, “Can you hear me? Help!” and then the call hung up.
Authorities found the cougar standing over the body of the dead biker, the station reported.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the two victims were biking together or separately.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife says that adult male cougars average about 140 pounds but can hit 180 pounds and measure 7 to 8 feet long, counting the tail. Adult females are about 25 percent smaller. The agency says the cats can leap 30 feet from a standstill and 15 feet straight up. Their normal prey includes deer, elk, and wild sheep.
What to do if you come across a cougar
– Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Leave the animal a way to escape.
– Stay calm and stand your ground.
– Maintain direct eye contact.
– Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
– Back away slowly.
– Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
– Raise your voice and speak firmly.
– If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
– If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.