Park service tracking mountain lion after it mauled child in Olympic National Park

1 August 2023

Cougar sightings and interactions are becoming more common across our region. Over the weekend, one of these close calls took a terrifying turn. A mountain lion at Lake Angeles in Olympic National Park attacked an eight-year-old camping with their family. The child was taken to the nearby Olympic Medical Center.

In response, the park service shut down a handful of trails and deployed a team of trackers to search for the big cat. If they find it, there is no hope of rehabilitation, authorities plan to euthanize the animal.

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Wildlife biologist, Jason Knight spent years tracking cougars in the Cascade foothills. Knight said encounters like this are rare, which leads him to believe something could be wrong with the animal.

“We don’t know what’s going on with this mountain lion and my concern is trying to figure it out,” said Knight. “Could be a young animal, could be a diseased animal, could be an older animal that’s severely injured.”

Knight is the founder of Alderleaf Wilderness College in Monroe, an organization dedicated to educating outdoor explorers. He said the child’s mother saved her life when she yelled and intimated the cougar along the lakeshore. Knight encourages other campers and hikers to take notes.

“Fantastic to hear the mountain left the child and that the child came away okay with some scrapes and bruises,” said Knight. “I think they’re doing the right thing too as far as closing off that area and seeing if they could track it down.”

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