Tag Archives: cougar attack

Family’s Dogs Helped Stop Leavenworth Cougar Attack On Child

A family’s dogs helped chase off a cougar that was attacking their child at a Leavenworth park yesterday evening, likely preventing further injury.

The juvenile suffered minor injuries and the young adult male mountain lion was tracked down by officers with dogs and killed later that night.

The incident occurred at Enchantment Park, along the banks of the Wenatchee River below this Bavarian-themed Central Washington town.

What’s believed to have been the same cougar had been seen earlier in the day “acting abnormally,” approaching people, according to WDFW Capt. Michael Jewell, who added that after they got big, the animal acted normally again by running away.

Officers responding to the scene did a “thorough search,” but in the heat of the day, no sign of the cougar was found. The plan was for WDFW officers with dogs to come back Sunday morning, when tracking conditions would be better, but in the meanwhile, working with city officials, the park was closed.

But about four hours later, around 9:30 p.m., Chelan County and Washington State Patrol dispatch received calls that a cougar attack had just occurred.

“The family had some dogs with them and they released them and successfully intervened and chased the cougar away,” said Jewell.

It was reported killed around 1:30 in the morning. Jewell said he was “really grateful” for assistance from state troopers and county sheriff’s deputies.

Hound hunting for cougars was banned in Washington in 1996 by voter initiative, and a bill introduced in the state legislature this year that would have allowed a pilot program again in Chelan County didn’t get further than a public hearing.

Jewell said the cougar “appeared to be in healthy condition. There were no obvious signs of illness or injury.”

Leavenworth is surrounded on all sides by wildlife habitat, he pointed out.

“It is close to town, but it is not unusual for us to have larger animals,” he said.

He said cougars occasionally spend time in urban environments.

“These incidents are rare,” he emphasized. “Our primary goal is the safety of the public.”

Jewell advised recreationalists to be “vigilant” in the outdoors. “Getting big” can help, but this attack follows on one last May near North Bend in which a mountain lion killed one of two bicylists and injured the other.

That one also involved a young male and the two bicyclists initially fended it off, but it came back when they tried to pedal off.

A lab analysis found no abnormalities in that animal.

Jewell said more testing would be performed on the carcass of the cougar involved in yesterday’s attack.

“We’re really relieved no serious injuries were sustained,” he said of the child.

Cougar Shot Dead In Mt Hood Area That Hiker Was Killed


An adult female cougar was shot and killed by wildlife officials at approximately. 3:15 p.m. today on the Hunchback Mtn Trail Area of Mt. Hood National Forest.


The cougar’s carcass is now being transported by Oregon State Police to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland. The laboratory will analyze evidence from the cougar killed today and compare it with evidence received earlier this week (from the scene where Diana Bober was killed). The goal is to determine whether or not the cougar killed today is the cougar that killed Diana.

The female cougar was not lactating, meaning she is not currently caring for kittens.

After finding no sign of the cougar in the area of the Hunchback Mtn Trail yesterday, USDA Wildlife Services personnel started today’s search area to the west of the Hunchback Mtn trail. At approximately 9:20 a.m., a cougar walked in front of a remote camera that crews had deployed earlier this week just a few feet from where Diana Bober’s backpack was picked up on Hunchback Mtn Trail.

“Setting up our communications logistics system earlier this week really paid off today,” said Brian Wolfer, the ODFW watershed manager leading the capture effort. “Thanks to a tremendous effort by the ODFW team and our partners, we were able to quickly get this information to the team on the ground and get them back to the Hunchback Mtn Trail.”

USDA Wildlife Services personnel along with their dogs and mules hiked back to where they could be picked up and transported back to the Hunchback Mtn Trail. They were back at the site where Diana’s backpack was found about three hours after the cougar’s visit to the site. The hounds were able to pick up the scent and trail the cougar until it went up into a tree around 3 p.m. today, when it was then shot with a rifle.

“We don’t know if this is the cougar responsible, but we do know that this cougar was at the attack site today,” said Brian Wolfer, the ODFW watershed manager leading the effort. “We are doing all we can to confirm as quickly as possible whether this is the animal responsible.”

ODFW expects it will take at least three days before any results are available.

Until ODFW receives confirmation that the cougar killed is the right one, staff from ODFW and other involved agencies will remain in the Zigzag area and continue to search for cougars. If another cougar is encountered, it may be killed and also tested for evidence. The continued effort is intended to increase the probability that the offending cougar has been caught.

ODFW will host a press conference tomorrow, Saturday Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. in the Hunchback Trailhead parking lot. Members of the media planning to attend should text Michelle Dennehy  or Rick Swart tomorrow morning.


Oregon Woman Killed By Cougar

State and county officials say that an Oregon woman who had not been seen since late August and was reported missing last Friday was most likely killed by a cougar.

The body of Diana Bober of Gresham was discovered off a trail southwest of Mt. Hood yesterday and an autopsy was performed today.


“Every indication is that a cougar is responsible,” ODFW wildlife biologist Brian Wolfer said during a press conference with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office that was streamed live over Facebook this afternoon.

DNA has been flown to the USFWS forensic lab in Ashland for testing.

Wolfer said it was a “tragic and unprecedented event,” and is believed to be the first in state history that resulted in the loss of a human life.

It’s also the second fatal mountain lion attack in the Northwest just this year.

The other occurred near North Bend, Washington, where a bicyclist was taken down and their riding partner was also attacked.

That animal was immediately tracked down and killed and initially reported as underweight, but a Washington State University lab found “no abnormalities” in its condition that would have led to the attack.

“We don’t believe that the threat to the public that is posed by cougars is any greater today than it was yesterday,” said Wolfer. “However, we don’t know and can’t quantify the threat that this particular animal may pose to the public. And so we’re making every effort along with our partner agencies to locate this animal so we can assure the safety of the public.”

The Hunchback Trail, where the attack occurred, has been closed for the time being.

Advice for dealing with a cougar encounter bears repeating. Per WDFW:

  1. Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. Don’t run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.

  2. Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.

  3. Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.

  4. If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.

  5. If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.

North Bend Cougar Attack Victims Named

UPDATED 9:30 A.M., MAY 22, 2018

The two mountain bikers who were attacked by a cougar north of North Bend on Saturday have been identified.


WDFW officers were able to track down and euthanize the animal “very near the scene,” a state spokesman said.

The attack occurred late in the morning of May 19, and one victim, a 31-year-old identified as Isaac Sederbaum by the New York Times, was airlifted to Harborview Hospital in Seattle.

Sederbaum was initially reported to be “awake and alert and in serious condition” but later that day was updated that to “satisfactory.”

KOMO reports that after the attack Sederbaum 2 miles to get cell phone reception to report the incident.

The Times reported Sederbaum looked back at one point and saw the cougar dragging the other victim off the road.

The body of the deceased, a 32-year-old identified as Sonja J. “SJ” Brooks was found with the cougar.

The New York Times, which was the first to name the victims, initially reported Brooks as a woman. Previous and subsequent reporting there and elsewhere listed Brooks as a man.

According to a May 22 story by KING 5, “According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, family identified Sonja J. Brooks as a woman. But a number of people informed KING 5 that Brooks was a member of the trans community and preferred the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them.’

WDFW describes the cougar as a “3-year-old male in poor condition,” i.e.., “underweight.”

They say that officers and a hunter using hounds were able to track it down. The Times reported it was shot at four times while treed in a gully, dislodging it and it was subsequently dispatched on the ground.

The animal was not a part of ongoing carnivore studies in the region.

The attack was reported to be somewhere off the North Fork Road and road to Lake Hancock. A Seattle Times map showed it near Ernie’s Grove, not far from North Bend and Snoqualmie.

The area is primarily industrial timberlands.

Brooks and Sederbaum tried to fend off the cougar during the attack with their bikes and were initially successful but then the cat came back and Brooks broke and ran, the wrong thing to do against a cougar, unfortunately, and was taken down.

The head of Sederbaum was at one point entirely inside the mouth of the cougar according to KOMO, which is when Brooks ran and was chased down and killed by the cougar.

When officers arrived, they got one shot at the cougar, which ran off.

In an unusual coincidence, the Washington Department of Natural Resources was opening up a 17-mile-long mountain bike trail about 10 miles to the south of the attack, in the Raging River drainage.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported that the last cougar attack in Washington occurred in 2009, in Stevens County and involved a young boy, and the last fatal cougar attack here occurred in 1924, in central Okanagan County.

Editor’s note: The gender of Sonja J. Brooks has been reported as both male and female. According to a May 22 KING 5 report, Brooks’ family identified Brooks as a woman, though Brooks apparently preferred nongender terms such as “they” and “them.”