List of fatal cougar attacks in North America

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Although cougar attacks are rare, they can be fatal.

This is a list of known or suspected fatal cougar attacks that occurred in North America by decade in chronological order. The cougar is also commonly known as mountain lion, puma, mountain cat, catamount, or panther. The sub-population in Florida, which is a population east of the Mississippi River, is known as the Florida panther. There are also documented presence of cougars in Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[citation needed]

At least 20 people in North America were killed by cougars between 1890 and 2011, including six in California. More than two-thirds of the Canadian fatalities occurred on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare and occur much less frequently than fatal dog attacks, fatal snake bites, fatal lightning strikes, or fatal bee stings.[citation needed] Children are particularly vulnerable. The majority of the child victims listed here were not accompanied by adults.

As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person "plays dead". Standing still however may cause the cougar to consider a person easy prey.[1] Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.[2][3]

Before 1970[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Arthur Dangle, 7, male June 19, 1890 Killed by two cougars while playing near his home in Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County, California
Child, 2, male January 31, 1909 Killed by mountain lion near Balboa, California. The boy was attacked while in a tent.[4]
Isola Kennedy, 38, female; Earl Wilson, 10, male July 5, 1909 Rabid cougar attacked a woman and child in Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County, California. Both victims died from rabies, not from the physical injuries. This is the only instance of a double fatality and the only instance where the victims succumbed to disease rather than the injuries sustained in the attack.
Child, 3, male August 21, 1911 Killed by mountain lion inside family home near Brownsville, Texas.
Jimmie Fehlhaber, 13, male December 17, 1924 Attacked and killed in Olema, Washington as he tried to outrun a cougar for about 100 yards (91 m)
Dominic Taylor, 7, male June 1949 Attacked and killed while walking on a beach in Kyuquot, British Columbia[5]
Elena Salzar, 5, female June 1953 Attacked, dragged off, and eaten in Tampico, Mexico[6]
Woman, unknown age, female 1951 Killed in Tampico, Mexico.[6]

1970s[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Lawrence Wells, 12, male January 1971 Attacked and killed in Lytton, British Columbia by male cougar while playing with his sisters
Kenneth Clark Nolan, 8, male January 20, 1974 Killed by a 3 year old female cougar in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
Thomas Harris, 26, male July 1976 Killed by a two year old male cougar near Gold River on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. He was dragged over 800 yards (730 m) in the snow.
Matilda Mae Samuel, 7, female July 1976 Killed by cougar near Gold River, British Columbia Killed while walking on a road.[7]

1980s[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Jesse Sky Bergman, 9, male May 16, 1988 Stalked and killed by a four year old male cougar at Catface Mountain in British Columbia near Tofino.
Jake Thomas Gardipee, 5, male September 9, 1989 Attacked and killed by at least two, possibly three, cougars behind his Missoula County, Montana home while riding a tricycle.

1990s[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Scott Lancaster, 18, male January 14, 1991 Killed while jogging a familiar route on a hill above Clear Creek High School in Idaho Springs, Colorado.[8]
Jeremy Williams, 7, male May 1992 Attacked and killed in Kyuquot, British Columbia by a young female cougar while playing in the school yard.[9]
Barbara Barsalou Schoener, 40, female April 23, 1994 Long distance runner and Placerville resident was attacked and killed while jogging on the American River Canyon Trail in California's Auburn State Recreation Area.[10][11]
Iris M. Kenna, 56, female December 10, 1994 Killed while hiking alone near Cuyamaca Peak in California's Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.[11][12]
Cindy Parolin, 36, female August 19, 1996 Mother killed while defending her 6 year old son on a horse back riding trip in Tulameen, British Columbia.[13]
Mark Miedema, 10, male July 17, 1997 Killed by an adult female cougar in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park while hiking when he got ahead of his family.[14]
Jaryd Atadero, 3, male October 2, 1999 Disappeared while hiking with a group of his father's friends on the Big South Trail in Poudre Canyon, west of Fort Collins, Colorado.[15] In June 2003, his clothing was discovered, 500 feet (150 m) up a cliff above the trail where he vanished, by hikers.[16] Jaryd's fragmentary human remains were found with the clothing.[17] A wildlife biologist found the damage to the clothing was consistent with mountain lion predation.[18]

2000s[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Frances Frost, 30, female January 2, 2001 This Canmore, Alberta resident was killed by a cougar while skiing on Cascade Fire Road just north of Banff National Park in Alberta[19]
Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, 35, male January 8, 2004 Attacked and killed while mountain biking at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in southern Orange County, California[11][20]
Robert Nawojski, 55, male June 24, 2008 Searchers found his body on this date near his mobile home in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. Investigators concluded that he had been attacked and killed by a cougar several days earlier.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Subramanian, Sushma (April 14, 2009). "Should You Run or Freeze When You See a Mountain Lion?". Scientific American. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ McKee, Denise (2003). "Cougar Attacks on Humans: A Case Report". Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (Wilderness Medical Society) 14 (3): 169–73. doi:10.1580/1080-6032(2003)14[169:CAOHAC]2.0.CO;2. PMID 14518628. Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Safety Guide to Cougars". Environmental Stewardship Division. Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Environment. 1991. Retrieved May 28, 2007. 
  4. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ykIwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RUgDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4474,1187899&dq=killed+by+mountain+lion&hl=en
  5. ^ "Cougar Trapped, Slain After Killing Boy, 7". The Reading Eagle. 21 June 1949. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Mountain Lion Kills Girl On Mexico Ranch .". The Deseret News. 20 June 1953. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  7. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ge4yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vO0FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1141,6659971&dq=matilda+mae+samuel&hl=en
  8. ^ "Jogger Apparently Killed By A Cougar .". St. Petersburg Times. 18 January 1991. Retrieved 15 August 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ Deurbrouck, Jo (2007). Stalked by a Mountain Lion: Fear, Fact, and the Uncertain Future of Cougars in America. Globe Pequot. p. 171. ISBN 0-7627-4315-8. 
  10. ^ Raia, James (27 April 2004). "Athletics: Death by Cougar - Remembering Barbara Schoener". RunnersWeb.com. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  11. ^ a b c California Department of Fish and Wildlife Nongame Program (2013). "Verified Mountain Lion Attacks on Humans in California (1986 through 2013)". Mountain Lions in California. Sacramento, California: California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  12. ^ Deegan, Joe (9 September 2004). "Mountain Lion Hype". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  13. ^ Zaidle, Don (18 September 2007). "Killer Cougars". Outdoor Life. 
  14. ^ "Mountain Lion Kills Boy Hiking in Colorado Park". New York Times. 19 July 1997. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "A father's pain shows as he waits for word". Fort Collins Coloradoan. 4 October 1999. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Boy's clothes found near site where he vanished". Fort Collins Coloradoan. 10 June 2003. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Jaryd's searchers find remains". Fort Collins Coloradoan. 15 June 2003. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "Atadero case may prompt negligence inquiry". Fort Collins Coloradoan. 17 June 2003. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Woman killed by cougar identified". CBC.ca. 3 January 2001. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "Man killed by mountain lion; cyclists also attacked in California". Associated Press. January 11, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  21. ^ Search continues for mountain lion that killed Pinos Altos man, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release June 23, 2008; Wounded mountain lion captured, killed near Pinos Altos, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release June 25, 2008]; Second mountain lion captured near Pinos Altos, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release July 1, 2008]

Notes[edit]