An unidentified and unarmed runner jogging a natural trail through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains had a near-death experience thanks to an 80-pound juvenile mountain lion that decided the man was his prey.
Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the young mountain lion attacked the man, who is in his early 30s, while he was running along the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a 2,700-acre park near Fort Collins, Colorado, which is frequented by people who enjoy hiking and biking along the designated trails there.
The mountain lion managed to bite the man on his face and wrist, but the runner somehow broke free from the lion. He put up an exceptional fight, defending himself to the end, literally. In an act of self-defense, the runner managed to kill the mountain lion by strangulation. A necropsy performed on the mountain lion revealed the man officially suffocated him.
Mark Leslie, the manager for the northeast region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, stated that 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," he said.According to CNN, the man explained that he heard a noise behind him while running in the afternoon. When he turned around to investigate the source of the sound, the mountain lion "lunged" at him, initially inflicting serious injury.
Ty Petersburg, the area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said in a statement that the runner passing by "triggered" the lion's hunting instinct.
The Press-Herald explained that mountain lions usually are "calm, quiet and elusive." Attacks are not all that common in Colorado, but they aren't unheard of because more people are out and about using nature trails and placing themselves in the mountain lions' habitat.
In the past several decades, only three people have been killed by mountain lions. Less than a dozen people have perished in attacks by mountain lions across the country.
CNN recommended that anyone approached by a mountain lion must "stay calm, stop or back away slowly and do all you can to appear larger" by raising your arms and opening your coat. But never ever run, crouch down or turn your back on the animal.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended people "fight back if a lion attacks you."
"This could have had a very different outcome," Petersburg stated.