List of fatal cougar attacks in North America

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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 126 attacks, 27 of which were 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.

Humans are capable of fending off cougars, as adult humans are generally larger. It is even possible for humans to win a fight against a cougar, such as the case of Travis Kauffman, who choked a juvenile cougar to death when attacked while jogging.[6] Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.[7][8]

Before 1970[edit]

Name, age Date Location, comments
(Unnamed Child), 3 August 21, 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."[9] Lane County, Oregon
Arthur Dangle, 7 June 19, 1890 Killed and eaten by two cougars while playing near his home in Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County, California
Frank Cook, age unknown November 11, 1901 Attacked by a cougar east of the Santa Caterina Landing in Baja California.[10]
A. C. Marklein, age unknown 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.[11][12][13][14][15][16]
Child Brown, 2 or 14

*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.[17][18]
Isola Kennedy, 38; Earl Wilson, 10 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.[19]
Child, 3 August 21, 1911 Killed by a pet cougar inside his family home near Beaumont, Texas.
Jimmie Fehlhaber, 13 December 17, 1924 Attacked and killed at Olema, Washington as he tried to outrun a cougar for about 100 yards (91 m)[20]
Dominic Taylor, 7 June 1949 Killed and eaten while walking on a beach in Kyuquot, British Columbia[21]
Woman, unknown age 1951 Killed in Tampico, Mexico.[22]
Elena Salzar, 5 June 1953 Attacked, dragged off, and eaten in Tampico, Mexico[22]


Name, age Date Location, comments
Lawrence Wells, 12 January 1971 Attacked and killed in Lytton, British Columbia by male cougar while Wells was playing with his sisters
Kenneth Clark Nolan, 9 January 20, 1974 Killed by a 3-year-old female cougar in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
Matilda Mae Samuel, 7 July 1976 Killed by cougar near Gold River, British Columbia, while walking on a road.[23]


Name, age Date Location, comments
Jesse Sky Bergman, 9 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 September 9, 1989 Attacked and killed by a cougar while playing behind his home in Missoula County, Montana near Evaro. The cougar was later killed, and a necropsy was performed at the Montana State University veterinary lab, establishing the cougar's role in the child's death.


Name, age Date Location, comments
Scott Lancaster, 18 January 14, 1991 Killed and eaten while jogging a familiar route on a hill above Clear Creek High School in Idaho Springs, Colorado.[24]
Jeremy Williams, 7 May 5, 1992 Attacked and killed in Kyuquot, British Columbia by a young female cougar while playing in the school yard.[25]
Barbara Barsalou Schoener, 40 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.[26][27]
Iris M. Kenna, 56 December 10, 1994 Killed while hiking alone near Cuyamaca Peak in California's Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.[27][28]
Cindy Parolin, 36 August 19, 1996 Mother killed while defending her 6-year-old son on a horseback riding trip in Tulameen, British Columbia.[29]
Mark Miedema, 10 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.[30]
Jaryd Atadero, 3 October 2, 1999 Went missing during a religious hiking trip in the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado, partial remains discovered in 2003.

NOTE: this case is highly contentious and experts vary in opinion as to whether or not this was an official cougar attack.


Name, age Date Location, comments
Frances Frost, 30 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[31]
Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, 35 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.[27][32]
Robert Nawojski, 55 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.[33][34][35]


Name, age Date Location, comments
S.J. Brooks, 32 [36] 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.[37][38]
Diana Bober, 55 September 11, 2018 Killed by a cougar in Mount Hood National Forest on the Hunchback Mountain Trail. The first in Oregon’s recorded history.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cougar | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife". Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Citation for claim about lightning strikes".
  3. ^ "Citation for claim about snake bites".
  4. ^ "Citation for claim about bees and wasps". MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 68 (29): 649. 2019. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6829a5. PMC 6660102. PMID 31344022.
  5. ^ Subramanian, Sushma (April 14, 2009). "Should You Run or Freeze When You See a Mountain Lion?". Scientific American. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  6. ^ "Remember the Fort Collins trail runner who killed an attacking mountain lion? Here's what his life has been like since". 18 July 2019.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Idaho Semi-Weekly World. (Idaho City, Boise County, [Idaho Territory], Image 1)". September 2, 1868. Retrieved December 12, 2020 – via
  10. ^ "The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah) 1870-1909, November 12, 1901, Image 1". November 12, 1901. Retrieved April 22, 2017 – via
  11. ^ "The Indianapolis journal. [volume] (Indianapolis [Ind.]) 1867-1904, March 02, 1904, Image 2". The Indianapolis Journal. March 2, 1904. p. 2. ISSN 2332-0974. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, March 01, 1904, Image 2". March 1, 1904 – via
  13. ^ "The Topeka state journal. [volume] (Topeka, Kan.) 1892-1980, March 01, 1904, LAST EDITION, Image 5". March 1, 1904. p. 5 – via
  14. ^ "The commoner. [volume] (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 11, 1904, Image 7". March 11, 1904. p. 7 – via
  15. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (March 23, 1904). "Der Deutsche correspondent. [volume] (Baltimore, Md.) 1841-1918, March 23, 1904, Image 3". Der Deutsche Correspondent. ISSN 2372-2894. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  16. ^ "Semi-weekly interior journal. [volume] (Stanford, Ky.) 1881-1905, March 04, 1904, Image 4". Semi-Weekly Interior Journal. March 4, 1904. ISSN 1941-3009. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "Aspen Democrat February 2, 1909 — Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection". Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Cheek, Martin (November 10, 2006). "Local Heroine Isola Kennedy Sacrificed Life". The Morgan Hill Times. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  20. ^ Lowe, Cara Blessley (November 30, 2008). Listening to Cougar. University of Colorado Press. p. 177. ISBN 9781607320364.
  21. ^ "Cougar Trapped, Slain After Killing Boy, 7". The Reading Eagle. June 21, 1949. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  22. ^ a b "Mountain Lion Kills Girl On Mexico Ranch". The Deseret News. June 20, 1953. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  23. ^ "Ottawa Citizen - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "Jogger Apparently Killed By A Cougar". St. Petersburg Times. January 18, 1991. Retrieved August 15, 2010.[dead link]
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Raia, James (April 27, 2004). "Athletics: Death by Cougar - Remembering Barbara Schoener". Retrieved September 15, 2007.
  27. ^ 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 May 28, 2013.
  28. ^ Deegan, Joe (September 9, 2004). "Mountain Lion Hype". San Diego Reader. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  29. ^ Zaidle, Don (September 18, 2007). "Killer Cougars". Outdoor Life.
  30. ^ "Mountain Lion Kills Boy Hiking in Colorado Park". New York Times. July 19, 1997. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  31. ^ "There are cougars around: Attack a stark reminder for Alberta family". May 27, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  32. ^ "Man killed by mountain lion; cyclists also attacked in California". Associated Press. January 11, 2004. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ 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
  35. ^ 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
  36. ^ "Cyclist who died in Seattle cougar attack remembered in Montreal as pioneer for inclusive biking". Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  37. ^ Stevens, Matt (20 May 2018). "Cougar Attacks Two Bicyclists in Washington State, Killing One". New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  38. ^ "Former-Topekan-SJ-Brooks-killed-by-cougar-in-Seattle-area". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  39. ^ "Cougar apparently killed Oregon woman missing for nearly 2 weeks, investigators say". Fox News. 11 September 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2019.