FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The runner who fought off an attacking mountain lion on a trail in Horsetooth Mountain Park last week is ready to break his silence.
The man is scheduled to talk to the media about the Feb. 4 attack during a press conference Thursday, according to a release from Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Denver7 plans to cover the event live on our website and Facebook.
The man was running on West Ridge Trail when a juvenile mountain lion attacked him from behind, biting the man’s face and wrist. The victim was able to break free from the big cat by suffocating the animal, according to CPW.
After the attack, the runner, who has not been identified, was able to hike out to safety and drove himself to a hospital, CPW said. His injuries — including facial lacerations, wrist injuries, scratches and puncture wounds to his arms, legs and back — were described as serious but not life-threatening. The man was released from the hospital the next day.
Wildlife officers returned to the area and found the animal's body "within feet of several possessions that the victim asked the officers to look for on the trail," according to CPW.
The lion, which was less than a year old, was taken to an animal health lab for a necropsy, where officials determined that the animal had indeed died of suffocation. They said the cat tested negative for rabies.
The agency said the attack on the runner was likely triggered by the animal's hunting instincts. Wildlife officers said mountain lions will often instinctively try to chase and attack fast-moving animals, including humans.
CPW said it is still completing its investigation into the incident. Larimer County temporarily closed the open space after staff revisited the area and saw additional mountain lions. Horsetooth Mountain reopened to the public on Wednesday.