One man lost his life and his friend was injured during a rare fatal cougar attack last week in North Bend, Washington. KIRO-TV reports the two victims were mountain biking in the area when the incident took place around 11:20 a.m. Saturday.
One man was able to escape and call authorities for help. First responders found the cougar still standing over the body of the deceased victim. As wildlife officials approached, the cougar ran into the woods, a King County Sheriff's Office spokesperson told CBS News.
Officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Game later tracked the cougar down and shot and killed it, said Capt. Alan Myers of the state's Fish & Wildlife Police.
The 31-year-old man who survived the mauling is awake, alert and in satisfactory condition.
Fish and Wildlife officials said there was no indication the men taunted the big cat before it attacked.
"He said he had his whole entire head in the jaw of this animal and was being shaken around," said Fish and Wildlife officer Allen Meyers, but he was able to escape.
"At some point, one of the victims even swung their bike toward the animal as it approached and that caused it to run off in the woods. The two victims took a minute and were catching their breath about this amazing, incredible event," Meyers said.
But then the mountain lion returned, chasing down and killing the second bicyclist.
Myers told Q13 Fox on Sunday that the cougar was emaciated, weighing only about 100 pounds. A typical 3-year-old male cougar in the Cascade Mountain foothills would be 140 to 180 pounds.
A necropsy will be performed on the cougar in an attempt to find out why it was so emaciated and aggressive.
This is the first time in nearly a century a mountain lion has killed someone in Washington state. A 13-year-old boy was killed in an attack in 1924.
Mountain lions are a protected species in Washington, and it's estimated more than 2,000 of them are free to roam statewide.
"The fact that it stayed in close proximity of these folks and attacked and stayed with them is highly, highly unusual," Meyers said.
Have you ever encountered an aggressive mountain lion?
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.