The Mountain Lion is not an apex predator. The big cats are not typically a problem for humans, but the odd encounter does occur. A trail runner in the Rocky Mountains was attacked by a Mountain Lion, Monday. The man was bitten multiple times before he managed to kill the lion. The jogger was running in the Horsetooth Mountain area, an hour west of Denver Colorado.
The lion stalked him and jumped on his back. The lion bit the man’s face and clawed him.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources acknowledged that the man killed the lion in self-defense, and noted that it was a juvenile lion, but they did not disclose how the man killed the cat.
They did note that the man killed the lion with his bare hands. Though the cat was a juvenile, it isn’t clear exactly how much it weighed. While mountain lions will yield to wolves and bears, they have a distinct advantage over unarmed humans.
An adult male can tip the scales at 180 pounds. Females can weigh as much as 130 pounds.
After the attack, the runner went to a hospital. After reporting the incident, officials located the body and are examining it for signs of disease. The man’s injuries were classified as serious, but not life threatening.
“The runner did everything he could to save his life,” Mark Leslie, CPW Northeast Regional Manager, said. “In the event of a lion attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back, just as this gentleman did.”
“Lion attacks have caused fewer than 20 fatalities in the United States in the past 100 years,” The Daily Mail notes. “Sixteen known attacks have occurred in Colorado since 1990….”
Lion’s have been known to stalk humans for miles. Yet the number of attacks remains incredibly small. It is far more common for the big cats to attack the pets humans take into the wilderness with them.
“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.”