Mountain Lion Attacks Child, 8, Camping in Washington State

Authorities say such an attack is 'very, very unusual'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Mountain Lion Attacks Child, 8, Camping in Washington State
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / slowmotiongli)

An 8-year-old camping with their mom at Lake Angeles in Washington state was attacked by a mountain lion in what officials are calling an "extraordinarily rare" incident Saturday. The pair was camping in the Heart O' the Hills area south of Port Angeles in Olympic National Park when the attack took place, CNN reports. After the child's mother yelled at the cougar, the animal "casually abandoned its attack," the park service says in a statement. Park personnel responded and took the child, who suffered minor injuries, to a hospital for evaluation, KING 5 reports.

Campers were evacuated and two nearby areas were closed until further notice, and wildlife personnel are searching for the animal involved. If it is found, it will be euthanized and a necropsy performed. "This may provide clues as to why the animal attacked since cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare," the park service says. The acting public information officer for the park echoes that: "That almost never happens, and it's a sign of very, very unusual behavior." Indeed, while the national park is cougar territory, humans rarely even see mountain lions. If they do, they are advised to make a lot of noise, try to appear large, and fight back if attacked. (More Washington state stories.)

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