Life can change in an instant. What initially looked like a good idea, to spend the day running one February morning, might have ended up with a tragedy.
In 2019, while running all by himself in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins, Colorado, one man heard something behind him.
When he turned around, he realized he was being attacked by an 80-pound mountain lion! The animal lunged at him and bit his face and wrist, so the runner had no other option but to fight for his life.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials, he choked the lion to death! A spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Rebecca Ferrell, explained that the man admitted choking the lion in self-defense.
The body of the young lion, which weighed under 70 pounds, was taken to a lab to be examined after it was found on the trail near some of the man’s possessions.
It was reported that the necropsy confirmed that the lion, which was less than a year old, had been suffocated. The animal tested negative for rabies.
Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks, and Wildlife’s northeast region manager explained:
“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.”
Afterward, the runner, whose name was not identified because of the investigation, was taken to a hospital, as he suffered severe injuries, but has been released since.
The Larimer County Department of Natural Resources said that the trails in the area were temporarily closed due to rangers reporting “more mountain lion activity in the area”, and their safety will be reassessed.
Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, added:
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner. This could have had a very different outcome.”
Although lions tend to avoid humans, in the last two decades, 3 people have been killed, and 16 injured by mountain lions in Colorado. Three of those attacks occurred last year.
In a Facebook post, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis warned that even though this man managed to kill the lion with his “bare hands,” people should stay away from these animals, and in the case of an encounter, they should back away slowly if possible. In case the cat starts behaving aggressively, he advised them to throw stones to defend themselves.