February 09, 2019

A runner who was attacked by a juvenile mountain lion killed the animal through suffocation, according to Colorado wildlife officials.

The man was running on a trail at Horsetooth Mountain park in Colorado when he was attacked from behind by the cat, who reportedly bit his face and wrist. He also suffered puncture wounds to his arms, legs and back, according to CBS Denver.

The runner survived after fighting off the cat, hiking to safety and taking himself to a hospital.

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Tuesday morning in a tweet an examination of the animal confirmed "the victim's account that he was able to suffocate the animal while defending himself from the attack."

"The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did," said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region manager.

Parks and Wildlife's Rebecca Ferrell said the man, whose name hasn't been released, recently read an article on how to handle an attack from mountain lions. He was able to use that knowledge while responding to the incident.

Ferrell said attacks on humans are very rare. However, if someone ever encounters a mountain lion, it is best to make yourself big, loud and calm, she said. Running away is a bad idea because the cat's hunting instincts could kick in, starting a chase, she added.

There have been 16 injuries as a result of mountain lion attacks since 1990 and three human fatalities in Colorado.

The cat that attacked the runner was tested for disease, and results were negative for rabies. Parks and Wildlife officials said they were unable to test the cat's weight because a cannibalistic mountain lion likely got ahold of the deceased cat before investigators.

Larimer County officials announced that they were temporarily closing the park because of the attack. They said they want "to allow for a cooling off period before reopening."

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