A woman and her friend were attacked by a mountain lion while trail running in Mill Creek Canyon, UT, on Sunday morning, Kolbie Peterson reports for the Salt Lake Tribune.
The pair were running along the Pipeline Trail when they turned the corner and startled the beast.
As they tried to back away the animal pounced, clawing one of the women and twice puncturing her leg. The other runner began hitting the mountain lion with a rock causing it to retreat and allowing the women to escape. They managed to hike back down to the trailhead together where they called 911.
The injured woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she is recovering in a stable condition. Her wounds were not life-threatening.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has located and euthanized the animal.
Wildlife officials say mountain lions are elusive animals, try to avoid most humans, and attacks are rare.
As with many predators, a mountain lion may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person “plays dead”, according to Wikipedia. Standing still may cause the mountain lion to consider a person easy prey. Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.