Cougar attacks five cyclists on Washington trail, one hospitalized

Mountain Lion / Cougar
In the USA, mountain lions or cougars are mostly found in the western states (Image credit: Getty Images / Kathleen Reeder Wildlife Photography)

At least one cougar stalked then attacked a group of five mountain bikers on a trail in Washington state on Saturday, leaving one of group – a 60-year-old woman – injured and in need of hospitalization.

According to KKTV 11 News, the group was in an area along Tokul Creek five miles north of Snoqualmie on Saturday afternoon when the attack occurred. 

The cyclists managed to pin down the cougar using one of their bikes, and they then called emergency services. A wildlife officer swiftly arrived on the scene and killed the animal with a firearm. A second cougar apparently fled, the King County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. 

“One biker (reportedly a 60-year-old female) received either claw or bite injuries from one of the cats during this incident,” the statement reveals. “The injured woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.”

“Fish and Wildlife personnel removed one subadult cougar at the scene; it is presumed to be older than six months however an accurate age will be determined by officials once tooth data is taken from the cougar,” State Fish and Wildlife police spokesperson Becky Elder told CNN.

what to do if you meet a mountain lion: mountain lion on the slopes

Mountain lion encounters on popular trails are very rare (Image credit: Getty Images)

A “hound handler” unsuccessfully attempted to track the second cougar that ran back into the forest.

“The public’s safety is our priority; generally during a human-wildlife incident we lethally remove the animal involved,” said Elder, while emphasizing that cougar attacks on humans are “extremely rare.”

“In Washington state, there have been two fatal cougar attacks and approximately 20 other recorded encounters that resulted in human injury in the last 100 years,” she said.

Our article What to do if you meet a mountain lion on the trail has lots of practical advice, but the the key thing to remember is: do not run away. A mountain lion will take this as an invitation to chase you. And you can use bear spray on mountain lions which is always handy to know.