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cougar attack in Washington State

A nine-year-old girl survived a cougar attack on Saturday morning. Photo: Priscilla Du Preez//Unsplash

The Inertia

A nine-year-old girl ended up in the hospital after surviving a cougar attack while on a camping trip in Washington state over the weekend.

The girl, who was walking on a trail with two friends she was camping with, was attacked on Saturday morning near Fruitland, an unincorporated community in Stevens County in northwestern Washington. According to reports, the girl fought back while her two friends ran back to camp. Adults in the vicinity responded quickly and found the young girl covered in blood. She was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where she underwent multiple surgeries for injuries sustained to her head and upper body.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman said that cougar attacks are rare, with only two fatalities in the last century in Washington. In 2018, another mountain lion attack in Washington left one mountain biker dead and one seriously injured.

“In this instance, this little girl did nothing wrong,” said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman. “It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it.”

Lehman went on to explain what to do if you find yourself in a cougar’s sights. “Fight back as hard as you can and try to stay on your feet,” she said. “Do not turn around. Don’t take your eyes off the animal. Don’t run.”


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