Colorado Runner Suffocates Mountain Lion With Bare Hands In Self-Defense

Will PETA let him off based on “stand your ground” laws? In the most epic instance ever of a jogger fending off an attacker, a man running on remote mountain trails in Colorado on Monday found himself being trailed by a mountain lion, only to eventually defeat the attack using merely his bare hands in the life-or-death struggle.

According to now viral reports the jogger heard movement behind him on the trail and the moment he turned around the mountain lion lunged. The man fought off the big cat after it jumped on him, sustaining non-life threatening bites and injuries to his face and wrist, for which he reportedly was taken to the hospital.

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However the outcome to the near deadly attack is summarized in the following report, which sounds straight out of The Onion, but believe it or not is NPR: “The man killed the animal by suffocating it, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Northeast Region. Exactly how he did so wasn’t immediately clear.”

Though the mountain lion didn’t come out alive, the jogger’s condition is said to be “serious” after he made it off the trail to seek help of his own accord but he’s expected to make a fast recovery. The incident took place inside Horsetooth Mountain Park in northern Colorado, and the runner’s identity has yet to be confirmed. 

Interestingly, it appears the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) was initially skeptical of the man’s account, namely that he suffocated the mountain lion with his bare hands and having no other weapon, until an autopsy (or necropsy) was done on the animal. 

The CPW later commented on Tuesday

After additional investigation, including examination of the lion, we have confirmed the victim’s account that he was able to suffocate the animal while defending himself from the attack.

“It’s an amazing story. Everyone is baffled and impressed,” Rebecca Ferrell, spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told The Denver Post. “He had no weapons, no knives or trekking poles with him. How did he do it? It’s pretty rare. That is definitely a twist on this, I’m sure.”

Park officials were later able to locate the animal’s body as well as items left behind by the fleeing jogger. The CPW later said the mountain lion weighed at least 80 pounds and described it as a “juvenile” after an examination at a state health lab.

It’s unclear whether the runner — who has not yet been identified publicly — strangled or smothered the mountain lion. He had no weapons, so he killed the cat with his bare, bleeding hands after climbing on top of the animal, state wildlife officials said. — The Denver Post

“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife described in an official CPW news release. “This could have had a very different outcome.”

Park officials said further that “Mountain lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than 20 fatalities in North America in more than 100 years.” And specifically in Colorado the CPW reported that since 1990 the state has had “16 injuries as a result of mountain lion attacks, and three fatalities.”

We expect PETA to weigh in at any moment… on the side of the deceased mountain lion. 

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