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In Rare Attack, Cougar Kills One Person, Injures Another

Courtesy Washington DFW
Washington Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife agents tracked and killed the cougar thought responsible for a fatal attack, May 19, 2018.

A rare cougar attack east of Seattle left one bicyclist dead and another seriously injured over the weekend.

The two friends were mountain biking in the foothills north of Mount Si when they encountered the cougar Saturday morning.

As recounted later by police, the two bikers did the right things: they made noise, and acted big. The cougar shied away, but then circled back and chased down both.

One man got away, but his companion did not. The survivor called 911 and was airlifted to a Seattle hospital in serious condition. He's since been upgraded to stable.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers tracked down the big male cat believed responsible and shot and killed it Saturday afternoon. 

Fatal attacks by cougars on humans are highly unusual. This is only the second death on record in Washington.

However, the Department of Fish and Wildlife says significantly more cougar attacks have been reported in western North America over the past two decades than in the 80 years before.

UPDATE, Tuesday, May 22

The survivor in Saturday's mountain lion mauling was discharged from Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday, according to a statement from the hospital in Seattle. He was identified as Isaac Cederbaum, 31. The King County Medical Examiner identified the person killed as SJ Brooks, 32, of Seattle.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.