On Monday, Feb. 4, a lone runner was taking on a trail just outside of Fort Collins, CO. when he heard something behind him. Before he could fully turn around to see what was following him, the man was attacked by a mountain lion. The animal began to bite his face and wrist, but eventually, the runner broke free. The runner then started to defend himself and eventually choked the predator to death.
After the attack, the runner was able to run out of the park to a local hospital where he was treated for "serious, but non–life threatening injuries," Reuters reports. This led the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to shut down the area to the public so that they could investigate the incident. As a result, they concluded that the man's account of the attack was indeed true and that an 80-pound juvenile mountain lion was suffocated to death.
"The runner did everything he could to save his life," CPW Northeast Region manager Mark Leslie said. "In the event of a lion attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did."
However, while remarkable, this runner's fightening encounter is rare. According to the CPW website, there have been fewer than 20 fatal mountain lion attacks in the last 100 years. In addition, since 1990, there have just 16 total mountain lion attacks, the reason being that mountain lions mostly avoid human contact. On top of that, the animal's young age is believed to be the reason for the attack.