Mountain Lion Euthanized After Attacking Trail Runner

by Samantha Whidden

A trail runner experienced quite a scare when a mountain lion attacked them while out in Millcreek Canyon, Utah on Sunday (September 25th). 

According to Fox 13, the trail runner was running with a friend on the Pipeline Trail around 8:30 in the morning when they came face-to-face with the mountain lion. The quick interaction frightened the animal. And although the two backed away slowly, the creature leaped at them. One of the runners ended up falling down and getting clawed on the leg. 

The other runner managed to hit the mountain lion with a nearby rock and managed to escape with the injured runner. The animal didn’t chase them and the injured runner sustained two puncture wounds on her leg. 

Unfortunately, the spokeswoman of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Faith Heaton Jolley revealed the fate of the mountain lion. She stated that wildlife officials used trained hounds to search for the animal. They later provided an update that they found and euthanized the large cat. They felt confident that it was the same one that injured the trail runner. 

Prior to the mountain lion being found and euthanized, Jolley said that the organization hoped that the cat’s scent would be fresh enough for the dogs to track down the special animal. It is the Division of Wildlife Resources’ policy to euthanize any wild animal that injures a person. Officials will be conducting a rabies test on the animal out of precaution. 

Wild Aware Utah Gives Health Tips to Staying Safe Around Mountain Lions 

Meanwhile, Fox 13 shared useful information from Wild Aware Utah about how to stay safe while runners and hikers are in mountain lion country. 

According to the organization, the main prey of mountain lions is deer. So they will be found whoever deer are. Along with deer, the big cats also eat elk, antelope, small mammals and birds. The key thing to remember is to never hike or jog alone. “Travel in groups and keep everyone together including children and dogs,” the organization shared. “Make noise while hiking to alert cougars of your presence.”

If a hiker or runner discovers a dead animal, especially a deer or elk, it is best for them to immediately leave the area. “It could be a cougar kill. The cougar may return and defend its food.” 

Finally, it is advised to keep a clean camp while out in the areas. “Store food and garbage in an odor-free, locked container or hung between two trees where cougars (and bears) cannot get it.” 

In regards to any encounters with mountain lions, Wild Aware Utah shared that the best thing to do is to never run from a cougar. But don’t approach it either. It’s encouraged for those in the encounter to maintain eye contact and stand tall. “Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms of jackets above your head. Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly, and leave the area.”