Twenty-five fatal mountain lion attacks are on record. Here’s how each happened.
Mountain lion, cougar, or puma: all these names describe the same animal, and it’s one you certainly don’t want to cross paths with in the wild. Although fatal mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, they do happen, and are often the result of cornering a cat, fleeing or playing dead.
The following list showcases the twenty-five known fatal mountain lion attacks in North America, starting with the first in 1890. As you’ll see, children are especially prone to being victims, with ten of the deaths attributed to those aged ten years or younger. Another interesting statistic is the rise in fatal attacks in the 1990’s, with six occurring during that decade.
Fatal Mountain Lion Attacks (1890-2017)
* Arthur Dangle (7) – June 19, 1890 – Siskiyou, California
Killed by two cougars while playing near his home in Quartz Valley
* Frank Cook (age unknown) – November 11, 1901 – southern California
Attacked by a cougar east of the Santa Caterina Landing.
* Child (2) – January 31, 1909 – Balboa, California
Attacked and killed by a mountain lion while in a tent.
* Child (14) – February 2, 1909 – Balboa, California
Killed by a mountain lion.
* Isola Kennedy (38), Earl Wilson (10) – July 5, 1909 – Morgan Hill, California
Rabid mountain lion attacked a woman and child in Santa Clara County. Both victims died from rabies, not from the physical injuries. This is the only instance of a double fatality and the only instance where the victims succumbed to disease rather than the injuries sustained in the attack.
* Child (3) – August 21, 1911 – Beaumont, Texas
Killed by a mountain lion inside family home.
* Jimmie Fehlhaber (13) – December 17, 1924 – Olema, Washington
Attacked and killed as he tried to outrun a cougar for about 300 feet.
* Dominic Taylor (7) – June 1949 – Kyuquot, British Columbia, Canada
Attacked and killed while walking on a beach.
* Woman (unknown age) – 1951 – Tampico, Mexico
* Elena Salzar (5) – June 1953 – Tampico, Mexico
Attacked, dragged off, and eaten.
* Lawrence Wells (12) – January 1971 – Lytton, British Columbia, Canada
Attacked and killed by male mountain lion while playing with his sisters.
* Kenneth Clark Nolan (8) – January 20, 1974 – Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
Killed by a 3-year-old mountain lion.
* Matilda Mae Samuel (7) – July 1976 – Gold River, British Columbia, Canada
Killed by a mountain lion while walking on a road.
* Jesse Sky Bergman (9) – May 16, 1988 – Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Stalked and killed by a four-year-old male mountain lion at Catface Mountain.
* Jake Thomas Gardipee (5) – September 9, 1989 – Evaro, Montana
Attacked and killed by at least two, possibly three, cougars while riding a tricycle behind his home in Missoula County.
* Scott Lancaster (18) – January 14, 1991 – Idaho Springs, Colorado
Killed while jogging a familiar route on a hill above Clear Creek Highschool.
* Jeremy Williams (7) – May 5, 1992 – Kyuquot, British Columbia, Canada
Attacked and killed by a young female mountain lion while playing in the school yard.
* Barbara Barsalou Schoener (40) – April 23, 1994 – Placerville, California
Long distance runner was attacked and killed while jogging on the American River Canyon Trail in California’s Auburn State Recreation Area.
* Iris M. Kenna (56) – December 10, 1994 – California
Killed while hiking alone near Cuyamaca Peak in California’s Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
* Cindy Parolin (36) – August 19, 1996 – Tulameen, British Columbia, Canada
Mother killed while defending her 6-year-old son on a horse back riding trip.
* Mark Miedema (10) – July 17, 1997 – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Killed by an adult female mountain lion while hiking when he got ahead of his family.
* Frances Frost (30) – January 2, 2001 – just north of Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Killed by a mountain lion while skiing on Cascade Fire Road.
* Mark Jeffrey Reynolds (35) – January 8, 2004 – Orange County, California
Attacked and killed while mountain biking at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. It is believed his chain fell off and the mountain lion attacked when he bent down to repair his bicycle.
* Robert Nawojski (55) – June 24, 2008 – Pinos Altos, New Mexico
Searchers found his body on this date near his mobile home. Investigators concluded that he had been attacked and killed by a cougar several days earlier.
Eager to see first-hand what a close encounter with a mountain lion is like? Here’s a video we recently published which may just make the hair on your neck stand up. Watch that incredible footage HERE.
And here’s a rundown on fatal black bear attacks over the last twenty years in North America. Read those stories HERE.
Information compiled from Wikipedia.
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