A man jogging on a trail in Colorado is lucky to be alive after a mountain lion lunged at him, biting his face and wrist. He eventually had no choice but to suffocate the animal.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, the unidentified man was going for a solo run on a trail in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space on Monday.
The man told officials he had heard something behind him on the trail, and when he turned around to see what was going on, the juvenile mountain lion lunged at him.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Ty Petersburg said in a statement. “This could have had a very different outcome.”
The runner was bitten on the face and wrist, but somehow managed to break free from the large animal. Officials said the man managed to kill the animal by suffocating it.
“The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife manager Mark Leslie said in a statement.
The jogger got himself out of the sticks, and drove to a local hospital where he was treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
According to wildlife officials, mountain lion attacks are extremely rare. There have only been 20 fatalities in North America in more than 100 years and since 1990, three fatalities in the state of Colorado.
“Lion populations are doing very well in Colorado, but they are elusive animals and tend to avoid humans,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife noted in a statement. “Most people will never see a lion in the wild, but they are there. If you live, work, or play in mountain lion country, it is important to be alert.”