List of fatal cougar attacks in North America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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 is known as the Florida panther.

A total of 125 attacks, 27 of which are fatal,[1] have been documented in North America in the past 100 years. Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare and occur much less frequently than fatal snake bites, fatal lightning strikes, or fatal bee stings.[2][3][4] 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.[5] 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.[6][7]

Before 1970[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
(Unnamed Child), 3, (Unknown) August 24, 1868 "Killed by a Cougar.— The Oregon Harold of August 24th contains the following: On the 21st instant, a little child three years old, of Mr. Patton, living on Rear Creek, three miles west of the Long Tom, in Lane county, was killed by a cougar.. The child was playing in the yard and within, ten feet of the door of the dwelling, when the cougar sprang upon it from the bushes which grew near the house. The mother seeing the beast drag her child towards the timber, seized a stick and started in pursuit. She attacked the cougar with such resolution that it dropped its burden, and the heroic woman taking the lifeless body under one arm and her only remaining child under the other, made her way to a neighbor's house, a mile and a half distant. Mr. Patton was absent from home at the time." [8] Lane County, Oregon
Arthur Dangle, 7, male June 19, 1890 Killed and eaten by two cougars while playing near his home in Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County, California
Frank Cook, age unknown, male November 11, 1901 Attacked by a cougar east of the Santa Caterina Landing in Baja California.[9]
A. C. Marklein, age unknown, male March 1, 1904 Killed by a cougar in Bushy Cane Creek Magoffin County, Kentucky. A. C. Marklein and A friend named McCarty both from New York state were attacked. A. C. Marklein received fatal injuries while McCarty was attacked but survived.[10]

[11] [12] [13][14][15]

Child Brown, 2 or 14, male

*NOTE: Probable false report

January 31, 1909 Killed by a cougar near Balboa, California. The boy was attacked while in a tent. News stories variously reported his age as 2 and 14. It was reported in a local paper the following day that the story was a hoax. The paper confirmed the local coroner never received a report of a child suffering a violent death in this manner.[16][17]
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.[18]
Child, 3, male August 21, 1911 Killed by a cougar inside his family home near Beaumont, Texas.
Jimmie Fehlhaber, 13, male December 17, 1924 Attacked and killed at Olema, Washington as he tried to outrun a cougar for about 100 yards (91 m)[19]
Dominic Taylor, 7, male June 1949 Killed and eaten while walking on a beach in Kyuquot, British Columbia[20]
Woman, unknown age, female 1951 Killed in Tampico, Mexico.[21]
Elena Salzar, 5, female June 1953 Attacked, dragged off, and eaten in Tampico, Mexico[21]


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, 9, male January 20, 1974 Killed by a 3-year-old female cougar in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
Matilda Mae Samuel, 7, female July 1976 Killed by cougar near Gold River, British Columbia, while walking on a road.[22]


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 while riding a tricycle behind his home in Missoula County, Montana near Evaro.


Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
Scott Lancaster, 18, male January 14, 1991 Killed and eaten while jogging a familiar route on a hill above Clear Creek High School in Idaho Springs, Colorado.[23]
Jeremy Williams, 7, male May 5, 1992 Attacked and killed in Kyuquot, British Columbia by a young female cougar while playing in the school yard.[24]
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.[25][26]
Iris M. Kenna, 56, female December 10, 1994 Killed while hiking alone near Cuyamaca Peak in California's Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.[26][27]
Cindy Parolin, 36, female August 19, 1996 Mother killed while defending her 6-year-old son on a horseback riding trip in Tulameen, British Columbia.[28]
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.[29]


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 near Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, Alberta[30]
Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, 35, male January 8, 2004 Attacked and killed while mountain biking at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in southern Orange County, California. It is believed his chain fell off and the cougar attacked when he bent down to repair his bicycle. His family Terri, Gary and Dona started the Mark J. Reynolds Memorial "Children's First Bike Fund" which provides bicycles and helmets to underprivileged children.[26][31]
Robert Nawojski, 55, male June 24, 2008 Searchers found his partially devoured body on this date near his mobile home in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. Investigators concluded that he had been attacked, killed and eaten by a cougar several days earlier.[32][33][34]


Name, age, gender Date Location, comments
S.J. Brooks, 32, non-binary [35] May 19, 2018 Killed by a cougar near North Bend, Washington, while biking in the foothills near North Bend. Another bicyclist was injured, and the cougar was found and killed later that day.[36][37]
Diana Bober, 55, female September 11, 2018 Killed by a cougar in Mount Hood National Forest on the Hunchback Mountain Trail. The first in Oregon’s recorded history.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cougar | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife". Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  2. ^ "Citation for claim about lightning strikes".
  3. ^ "Citation for claim about snake bites".
  4. ^ "Citation for claim about bees and wasps".
  5. ^ Subramanian, Sushma (April 14, 2009). "Should You Run or Freeze When You See a Mountain Lion?". Scientific American. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  6. ^ 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.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Safety Guide to Cougars". Environmental Stewardship Division. Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Environment. 1991. Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2007.
  8. ^ "Idaho Semi-Weekly World. (Idaho City, Boise County, [Idaho Territory], Image 1)". 2 September 1868. Retrieved 12 December 2020 – via
  9. ^ "The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah) 1870-1909, November 12, 1901, Image 1". 12 November 1901. Retrieved 22 April 2017 – via
  10. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (1904-03-02). "The Indianapolis journal. [volume] (Indianapolis [Ind.]) 1867-1904, March 02, 1904, Image 2". The Indianapolis Journal. p. 2. ISSN 2332-0974. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  11. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (March 1, 1904). "Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, March 01, 1904, Image 2" – via
  12. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (March 1, 1904). "The Topeka state journal. [volume] (Topeka, Kan.) 1892-1980, March 01, 1904, LAST EDITION, Image 5". p. 5 – via
  13. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (March 11, 1904). "The commoner. [volume] (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 11, 1904, Image 7". p. 7 – via
  14. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (1904-03-23). "Der Deutsche correspondent. [volume] (Baltimore, Md.) 1841-1918, March 23, 1904, Image 3". Der Deutsche Correspondent. ISSN 2372-2894. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  15. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (1904-03-04). "Semi-weekly interior journal. [volume] (Stanford, Ky.) 1881-1905, March 04, 1904, Image 4". Semi-Weekly Interior Journal. ISSN 1941-3009. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  16. ^ "The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Aspen Democrat February 2, 1909 — Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection". Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  18. ^ Cheek, Martin (November 10, 2006). "Local Heroine Isola Kennedy Sacrificed Life". The Morgan Hill Times. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  19. ^ Lowe, Cara Blessley (November 30, 2008). Listening to Cougar. University of Colorado Press. p. 177. ISBN 9781607320364.
  20. ^ "Cougar Trapped, Slain After Killing Boy, 7". The Reading Eagle. 21 June 1949. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Mountain Lion Kills Girl On Mexico Ranch". The Deseret News. 20 June 1953. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  22. ^ "Ottawa Citizen - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Jogger Apparently Killed By A Cougar". St. Petersburg Times. 18 January 1991. Retrieved 15 August 2010.[dead link]
  24. ^ Deurbrouck, Jo (2007). Stalked by a Mountain Lion: Fear, Fact, and the Uncertain Future of Cougars in America. Globe Pequot. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7627-4315-5.
  25. ^ Raia, James (27 April 2004). "Athletics: Death by Cougar - Remembering Barbara Schoener". Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Deegan, Joe (9 September 2004). "Mountain Lion Hype". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  28. ^ Zaidle, Don (18 September 2007). "Killer Cougars". Outdoor Life.
  29. ^ "Mountain Lion Kills Boy Hiking in Colorado Park". New York Times. 19 July 1997. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  30. ^ "There are cougars around: Attack a stark reminder for Alberta family". 27 May 2018. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  31. ^ "Man killed by mountain lion; cyclists also attacked in California". Associated Press. January 11, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  32. ^ Search continues for mountain lion that killed Pinos Altos man Archived June 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release June 23, 2008
  33. ^ Wounded mountain lion captured, killed near Pinos Altos Archived June 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release June 25, 2008
  34. ^ Second mountain lion captured near Pinos Altos Archived June 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, press release July 1, 2008
  35. ^ "Cyclist who died in Seattle cougar attack remembered in Montreal as pioneer for inclusive biking". Retrieved 12 Oct 2020.
  36. ^ "Cougar Attacks Two Bicyclists in Washington State, Killing One". New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  37. ^ "Former-Topekan-SJ-Brooks-killed-by-cougar-in-Seattle-area". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  38. ^ "Cougar apparently killed Oregon woman missing for nearly 2 weeks, investigators say". Fox News. Retrieved 3 December 2019.