US jogger strangles cougar to death in self-defense

A man has survived the life-and-death struggle with a wild cougar.

A cougar in the Rocky Mountains.

A cougar in the Rocky Mountains. Source: Getty

A jogger in the US strangled a cougar to death with his bare hands after it tried to attack him while he was on a run in a mountain park in the state of Colorado.

The man, who has not been identified, survived the life-and-death struggle in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a mountain park, around 110 km from Denver, officials said.

The man was running on a trail when the juvenile cougar attacked him from behind, biting and clawing his face, back, legs and arms, state and local officials said in a joint statement late on Monday.

During the struggle, the man strangled the wild animal with his bare hands, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Rebecca Ferrell said by phone on Tuesday.

"There was some wrestling going on and the cat did latch onto his arm but he was able to choke it," she said.

The size of the cougar was unclear, Ferrell said, because other animals fed on the carcass before wildlife officers arrived. But it is believed it was a male.

The runner went to a hospital, officials said, with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening.

The remainder of the animal's body was recovered near the trail, where the jogger had dropped some possessions, and taken to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife lab for a necropsy, officials said.

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

Mountain lion attacks have caused fewer than 20 fatalities in the United States in the past 100 years. Sixteen known attacks have occurred in Colorado since 1990, officials said.

"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 the CPW, said in a statement. "This could have had a very different outcome."

The Department of Natural Resources, which manages the park, has since closed the area due to mountain lion activity. 

Published 6 February 2019 at 11:10am, updated 6 February 2019 at 11:15am
Source: SBS - Reuters