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1 dead, 1 injured in cougar attack east of Seattle

  • Author: Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times
  • Updated: May 19, 2018
  • Published May 19, 2018

One man is dead and another has been taken to Harborview Medical Center after they were attacked by a cougar while riding bicycles around 11 a.m. Saturday in the woods in the Snoqualmie-North Bend area, said the King County Sheriff's Office.

Using a hound-dog tracker, agents for the state's Fish & Wildlife Police shot and killed the cougar a little before 3 p.m., said Capt. Alan Myers, with the agency.

In the last 100 years, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, there has been only one other fatal attack in the state. Fifteen others, before Saturday, were nonfatal.

The injured man, 31, called for help on his cellphone, said Sgt. Ryan Abbott. He was in serious condition, but awake and alert, according to a Harborview spokeswoman.

Abbott said the attack took place near North Fork Road Southeast and Lake Hancock Road, a Snoqualmie address.

In the first hours after the attack, the dead man's body was not retrieved because of concern about the cougar on the loose.

In the last 100 years in North America, according to the agency, roughly 25 fatalities and 95 nonfatal attacks have been reported. But more cougar attacks have been reported in the Western United States and Canada over the past 20 years than in the previous 80 years.

The agency says a high percentage of cougars attacking domestic animals or people are 1- to 2-year-old cougars that have become independent of their mothers.

It adds, "When these young animals, particularly males, leave home to search for territory of their own, and encounter territory already occupied by an older male cougar, the older one will drive off the younger one, killing it if it resists. Some young cougars are driven across miles of countryside in search of an unoccupied territory."

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