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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cougar attacks 5-year-old hiking in Stevens County

Wildlife officers pursuing cat after boy’s mother fought it off

A 5-year-old boy from Rossland, B.C., was attacked by a cougar Wednesday while he and his family were hiking a trail in Stevens County.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers said the attack occurred while the boy and his family were hiking on the Abercrombie Mountain trail along Silver Creek in the Colville National Forest.

The boy’s parents told wildlife officers that the boy was treated for head wounds at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, B.C. He was expected to recover completely, they said.

Wildlife officers began searching for the cougar Thursday, said Capt. Mike Whorton, regional enforcement supervisor in Spokane.

“When human life is threatened in this way, we take no chances,” Whorton said. If the animal is found, it will be killed, he said.

The boy’s mother was near him when the cougar suddenly attacked from out of a brushy area, Whorton said in a news release. The woman fought off the cougar and the parents took the child about 25 miles to the hospital in Canada.

Whorton said small children are particularly vulnerable to cougar attacks and should be closely supervised in cougar country.

Abercrombie Mountain overlooks Highway 31 northwest of Metaline Falls, Wash. Colville Forest officials said they would post warning signs at the trailhead.

The last reported cougar attack in Washington occurred last year in Douglas County, Fish and Wildlife officials said.

Since record-keeping began, 18 cougar attacks have been confirmed in the state, including one fatality in 1924 in Okanogan County.