Published: Wed, May 23, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

'Something was wrong with the cougar,' Cyclists attacked, one killed near Seattle

'Something was wrong with the cougar,' Cyclists attacked, one killed near Seattle

The attacks Saturday morning - the first fatal one in the state in almost a century - was uncharacteristic of cougars, which are normally solitary and easy to scare away.

Alan Myers, of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife police, said the brain of the 100-pound cat will be tested to determine why it attacked the cyclists, the first fatal encounter between a human and a cougar in the state in almost a century.

"The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger", Fish and Wildlife advises on its website.

The cougar was transported to the veterinary lab at Washington State University, as officials try to figure out why it so uncharacteristically attacked two humans.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials identified the victim of a fatal cougar attack in the Cascade Mountain foothills east of Seattle as S.J. Brooks, 32.

Sederbaum told officials that the wild animal let him go when it noticed Brooks running off into the woods. He suffered deep cuts throughout his body and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where his condition was later upgraded to satisfactory, according to media reports. A Linked-In profile also states Brooks had been the office manager of G&O Family Cyclery in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.

"He said he had his whole entire head in the jaws of this animal and was being shaken around horribly", Myers said. Initially, the cougar started to chase them down the road.

On Sunday, Capt. Alan Myers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the 100-pound, 3-year-old male cat was "emaciated", the Seattle Times reported. Sederbaum and Brooks were then catching their breath, but the cougar pounced out of the bushes and attacked again.

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"You are in a flight or fight situation - you are going to want to flee and it's completely natural but it triggers a chase response in a cougar", Myers said.

He rode 2 miles for cellphone reception to call 911, according to KOMO. Adult male cougars usually weigh 140 to 180 pounds. "It was skinnier than normal", he said.

Law enforcement found Brooks' body had been dragged and partially concealed under a log near the gravel road.

First responders from the fire and sheriff's departments found Brooks in the cougar's den, Abbott said.

Brooks was bitten in the face, legs and neck, and Sederbaum's injuries included bite and tear marks and claw scratches on his head, neck and face, Myers said.

Before Saturday, 16 cougar attacks, one of which was fatal, had been reported in Washington state during the past century. In Washington state, for example, seven of all reported attacks occurred during the 1990s. The last fatality was in 1924, when a cougar ambushed a teenage boy near his home in Olema, Okanogan County.

However, attacks involving cougars, also known as mountain lions, have been increasingly common in the past 20 years as humans encroach on wildlife habitats.

This was, tragically, the first time a cougar has killed someone in Washington state in almost 100 years.

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