More details are emerging about Saturday morning’s cougar attack on a 9-year-old girl, who continues to recover in a Spokane hospital and a Go Fund Me drive has raised over $65,000 for her and her mother.
According to WDFW, Lily A. Kryzhanivskyy was playing hide-and-go-seek with two other kids a short way from some buildings at a camp near Fruitland, in southwest Stevens County, and when she jumped out to surprise her friends, the cougar attacked her.
In a press release from the agency, Lily’s mother asked WDFW to share that her daughter was “very brave and tough” during the attack and she has made an “amazing” recovery so far.
Images shared by WDFW and Lily’s uncle show she suffered many cuts to her head, and her hands are wrapped in bandages.
She was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital and treated in the intensive care unit. While released from ICU, she remains in the hospital for treatment.
“We are extremely thankful for this little girl’s resiliency and we’re impressed with her spunk, in the face of this unfortunate encounter,” said WDFW Capt. Mike Sprecher. “It happened fast and we are thankful that the adults at the camp responded so quickly.”
KXLY reports that Lily’s two friends ran to get help and shortly afterwards the cougar was killed. A photo posted to the Spokane news station shows a young man who apparently killed the animal with a handgun.
The cougar was described as a young male and it tested negative for rabies.
WDFW officers were at the bible camp over the long holiday weekend “combing through the scene to understand how the events unfolded.”
That work included mapping the area, flying a drone to get another perspective on the incident, and collecting evidence and taking many photos, according to spokeswoman Staci Lehman in Spokane. The body condition of the lion will also be determined, but it may be awhile before a final report is ready, she said, partially due to backups at the lab.
Cougars rarely go after humans – WDFW reports this is just the 20th attack to result in injuries over the past century – though a bike rider was killed near North Bend in 2018.
“Wild animals don’t care to be around humans any more than we want to have close encounters with them,” said Sprecher.
WDFW offered the following advice:
If you do encounter a cougar, never turn and run. That can trigger a chase response. Instead,
Make eye contact with the cougar and back away slowly.
If the animal approaches you, try to look as big as possible. Stand on a rock and put your hands above your head.
Be assertive and yell, throw rocks or other items at it.
If it attacks, fight back, don’t play dead with cougars.
Research being done by the Kalispel Tribe of Northeast Washington that focuses on how mountain lions occurring near farms and homes react to hazing with hounds was the subject of a recent MeatEaterepisode.