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cougar attack cyclists Washington

In a startling incident east of Seattle, a group of five cyclists experienced a rare and frightening encounter with a cougar, leading to injuries for one woman. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has reported that the attack occurred in an unfortunate case of being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

The encounter occurred near Fall City, approximately 25 miles east of Seattle, around 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, 2024. The group was cycling near a creek, an area described by Carlo Pace, an officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as a natural habitat for cougars to track their prey. The cyclists unexpectedly found themselves in the midst of a dangerous situation when the cougar launched an attack on one of the riders, inflicting injuries to her neck and face.

The injured woman, identified as an adult by authorities, was subsequently reported to be in stable condition. The group’s quick response to fight back against the cougar was crucial in preventing more severe injuries. “They did struggle with this animal,” Pace remarked. “They did fight back. If it wasn’t for these people the lady that was attacked would be in much worse shape.”

Cougar attacks on humans are exceptionally rare, with the animals generally avoiding human interaction. According to reports, there have been 22 recorded cougar attacks in Washington State over the last century, including two fatalities. Following the incident, wildlife officers removed a 75-pound cougar from the vicinity, and its body was sent to a local university laboratory for thorough examination to determine its age, health condition, and any possible diseases.

Additionally, witnesses reported seeing a second cougar fleeting the scene, though officers could not locate it during their subsequent search.

Safety Tips for Encounters with Wildlife

This unusual incident serves as a reminder of the potential dangers when venturing into areas inhabited by wildlife. To ensure safety, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to follow these guidelines:

  1. Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in natural habitats where wildlife is present.
  2. Make Noise: Make noise to avoid surprising a wild animal. This can be as simple as talking loudly or ringing a bike bell.
  3. Ride in Groups: There is safety in numbers. Animals are less likely to approach a group.
  4. Do Not Approach Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter. Never attempt to touch or feed them.
  5. Carry Protection: Consider carrying bear spray or another form of non-lethal deterrent when in areas known for wildlife presence.
  6. Know How to Respond: If you encounter a cougar, do not run. Try to appear larger by raising your arms or opening your jacket, maintain eye contact, and slowly back away. Fight back if attacked.
  7. Report Sightings: Notify local wildlife authorities about any encounters with aggressive wildlife to help them monitor animal behavior and take appropriate actions.


By following these precautions, cyclists and outdoor adventurers can better protect themselves and enjoy the beauty of nature with peace of mind.

In light of this harrowing encounter near Seattle, it’s crucial for outdoor enthusiasts to remember the delicate balance between enjoying the natural world and respecting the wild inhabitants that call it home. This incident underscores the importance of preparedness, awareness, and adherence to safety guidelines when in areas known for wildlife activity. By staying informed and ready, individuals can continue to explore and appreciate the great outdoors while minimizing risks to themselves and the animals they may encounter. Let this rare event remind us of the unpredictability of nature and the collective responsibility we share in coexisting peacefully with our wild neighbors.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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