Colorado man who strangled mountain lion describes life-or-death struggle

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - A 31-year-old man who fended off and suffocated a mountain lion when it attacked him on a Colorado jogging trail last week described on Thursday how he killed the big cat by stepping on its throat during a life-and-death struggle.

Reuters February 15, 2019 07:06:24 IST
Colorado man who strangled mountain lion describes life-or-death struggle

Colorado man who strangled mountain lion describes lifeordeath struggle

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A 31-year-old man who fended off and suffocated a mountain lion when it attacked him on a Colorado jogging trail last week described on Thursday how he killed the big cat by stepping on its throat during a life-and-death struggle.

Speaking for the first time publicly since the Feb. 4 incident that left him with still-visible lacerations on his neck and face, Travis Kauffman described for reporters the harrowing three-minute encounter.

Kauffman said he was running at the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, about 65 miles northwest of Denver, when he heard pine needles rustling and turned his head only to come face-to-face with a young cougar.

"I was bummed out to see a mountain lion," he said at a news conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the environmental consultant lives with his girlfriend.

Kauffman raised his arms and shouted at the cougar, but it pounced and locked its jaw on his right wrist and clawed at his face. His attempts to halt the attack by stabbing the predator with sticks and hitting it on the head with a rock were to no avail.

Ultimately, he was able to pin the cougar down and put his foot on its neck and choke it until it stopped thrashing. He worried during the struggle that another cougar would come along and join the tussle.

"My fear response turned into more of a fight response," he said.

Mountain lions, also known as pumas or panthers, are native to the Americas and their range extends from the Canadian Yukon to the tip of South America, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Cougar attacks on humans are rare, however, with fewer than 20 reported fatalities in North America over the last 100 years, according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

There are between 4,500 and 5,500 mountain lions in Colorado, and since 1990 the state has seen 16 people injured and three killed from mountain lion attacks, the agency said.

Kauffman, who is 5-feet-10 inches tall and weighs about 155 pounds, said he had "zero" martial arts or wrestling training, and acted purely on adrenaline.

"The decisions were pretty instinctual," he added.

The wounds to his face, neck, wrist and legs required more than 20 stitches. Kauffman admitted that he was lucky to survive the attack without any permanent injuries.

"I should go buy a bunch of lottery tickets," he said.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, editing by G Crosse)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.