Fatal Cougar Attacks in America

Paige Schneider, Staff Reporter

The cougar, the largest of the small cat species, has an abundance of names. It has 18 native South American names, 25 native North American names, and 40 English names. Although the names are different, the one thing about this animal that remains the same no matter what label you paste on it is that it’s dangerous. However, cougar attacks are extremely rare. Over the last 100 years, there have been only 27 reported fatal incidents, which is barely one fatal accident every four years. You have a higher chance of being killed by a lightning strike (40-50 deaths per year), a snake bite (5 people per year), or even a bee sting (60 deaths per year) than you do being killed by a cougar.

Two people were attacked and killed in 2018 – S.J. Brooks and Diana Bober. 32-year-old Brooks, a leader of an inclusive biking club, was riding with 31-year-old Issac Sederbaum when they noticed they were being trailed by a cougar. The friends did what you are supposed to do during a cougar attack and got off of their bikes. They attempted to scare the beast away and even managed to hit it with a bike, but it wasn’t enough. The cougar attacked one biker by the head, and when Brooks ran the feline pounced on her back, and killed her. Sederbaum, who was bitten first, survived the attack with injuries. The other fatal cougar attack was that of 55-year-old Diana Bober – the only fatal attack in all of Oregon’s recorded history. The hiker was last seen on August 29th, and on September 11th her body was found at Hunchback trail in Mount Hood National Forest. Officials declared that she had been killed by a mountain lion, and no foul play had been involved. Two weeks after the state of Oregon executed the cat they believed guilty of the crime.

An unidentified Colorado resident could have become the next fatal case if it wasn’t for his quick thinking. The man was attacked from behind by a juvenile mountain lion while running through Horsetooth Mountain Park. The cougar bit the man’s face and arm, but he was able to free himself. His next course of action was to wrap his hands around the animal’s throat and strangle it to death. He eventually suffocated the cat to death and then sought out help for his injuries.