An 8-year-old was attacked by a cougar in Washington. Mom yelled and her kid survived

Olympic National Park sign
Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Wash.
(George Rose / Getty Images)

An 8-year-old survived what officials are calling an “extraordinarily rare” mountain lion attack in Olympic National Park over the weekend, leading to camper evacuations and several trail closures as experts searched for the cougar.

Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, park staff received reports that a child had been attacked by a mountain lion while camping with their mother at Lake Angeles in the Heart O’ the Hills area south of Port Angeles, Wash., according to a news release from the National Park Service.

“The cougar casually abandoned its attack after being yelled and screamed at by the child’s mother,” park officials said in the release. Mountain lions are also called cougars, panthers or pumas.


Park officials treated the child, who suffered minor injuries and was transported to a hospital, the park service said. Campers were evacuated from the area as a safety precaution.

A multi-agency task force of state and local officials was formed to keep both the public and the cougar safe near Haystack Rock.

July 17, 2023

Park law enforcement and wildlife personnel were dispatched at 5 a.m. Sunday to track the mountain lion, which was last seen in the Lake Angeles area, park officials said. The Lake Angeles area and several trails, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail and the entire Klahhane Ridge Trail, were closed as officials searched for the animal.

“If the cougar is located, it will be euthanized and removed from the park for a necropsy,” the park service said. “This may provide clues as to why the animal attacked since cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare.”

Officials said that Olympic National Park has “extensive protocols in place for wildlife observations, interactions, and attacks, and the lethal removal of this cougar is in line with these protocols.”

The National Park Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The bald eagle was soaring on an air current above frosty Lake Crescent, its wings spread wide, white head and electric-yellow beak tilted slightly down.

March 28, 2016

There are an estimated 1,900 to 2,100 adult mountain lions in Washington state. Olympic Park is considered “cougar territory,” and visitors are asked to remain vigilant.

Park officials say that “cougars do not want to be around humans,” but encounters do occur. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, state officials have recorded at least 22 cougar-human encounters that resulted in a documented injury in the last century. Two known fatal attacks occurred in 1924 and 2018.


It’s best never to run away from a cougar, park officials said. Instead, those who encounter a cougar are advised to get “big and loud.”

“If you are feeling a little nervous in the presence of a cougar, it is best to channel your inner Incredible Hulk,” the park service said in a Facebook post earlier this month. “Put your arms in the air, wave trekking poles above your head, shout loudly, and group together if with others. Tell that creature: ‘NOT TODAY, COUGAR!!!’”

The mountain lion P-22, who lived in the heart of Los Angeles for more than a decade and became the face of an international campaign to save Southern California’s threatened pumas, was euthanized Saturday.

Dec. 17, 2022