California Sees First Fatal Cougar Attack in Decades

Man killed, younger brother injured in Northern California
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2024 3:30 AM CDT
California Sees First Fatal Mountain Lion Attack in Decades
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / SandmanXX)

A California mountain lion has killed a person in for the first time since 2004. The big cat, also known as a cougar, puma, or panther, attacked two brothers who were searching for shed deer antlers in Northern California on Saturday afternoon, ABC News reports. The younger brother, who is 18, called 911 from the El Dorado National Forest to report the attack. He said he'd been separated from his brother, who was 21, USA Today reports. Authorities responded and started administering first aid to the teen and searching for his brother, who was ultimately found lying on the ground nearby, with the mountain lion crouched in front of him.

"Deputies discharged their firearms in order to scare the mountain lion off so they could render medical aid," the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office says in a statement. But by the time responders reached the man, he was already dead. His brother was hospitalized with traumatic injuries to his face; his condition has not been made public. A trapper started looking for the cougar alongside state Department of Fish and Wildlife game wardens, and ultimately, "the mountain lion was dispatched, and the body ... was collected for further examination," the sheriff's office says. Just six fatal mountain lion attacks have been recorded in California since 1890. (More California stories.)

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