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Cougar attacks Seattle couple, killing one

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On May 19th, Sonja Brooks and Isaac Sederbaum were attacked by a mountain lion while biking on a dirt path near North Bend, Washington.

According to the Washington Post, the two attempted to scare the cougar away by making loud noises, and one of them even threw a bike at the cougar, but nothing worked.

The mountain lion had been following the two bikers before it jumped at Sederbaum, taking his head in its jaws and shaking him violently, according to The Post.

As Brooks rode off  her bike to seek help, she caught  the attention of the big cat whose instinct was to chase. The cat released Sederbaum, chased down Brooks. 

According to Washington Post, Brooks lost the fight against the cougar as the cat mauled her and dragged her body into the woods. Her body was later found in the cougar’s den with the cougar sitting on top of her. 

Sederbaum was taken to Harborview Medical Center and his condition was updated to satisfactory.

According the CNN, when officers located the cougar, they scared it off a gunshot and it ran off. Using search dogs, they were later able to locate the cougar and they euthanized it. There will be a necropsy to determine what factors influenced the cougar to do this attack.

“The state of the cougar hints at just how desperate (it) might have been,” said Bishop Blanchet teacher Molly McFarland, “his weight alone should suggest his desperation”.

According to Washington Post, after an examination of the lion, Alan Myers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found that the lion was a 3-4 year old male and only weighed about 100 pounds. This was odd because male mountain lions that age are normally 140-180 pounds.

It is unknown why the mountain lion would behave so violently against these men, but there is an investigation being done to search for the answers. The lion was taken to Washington State University in Pullman, where a necropsy will be performed by a veterinarian to see if the lion had a disease or anything wrong with it that would explain the reasoning behind the attack. Considering the abnormality of this attack, there is a high probability of there being a physical or mental factor that caused the cougar to attack. According to the Washington Post, it is very out of character for a cougar to return and attack after being scared off.

The rarity of cougar attacks in Washington, as well as the rest of the United States, cannot be understated. In the past hundred or so years, the amount of time in which the state of Fish and Wildlife have been tracking cougar attacks, there have only been 25 people in total who have been killed in the U.S. by cougar attacks. Of those previous 24 attacks only one person had been killed in the state of Washington; seven of all reported attacks in Washington occurred during the 1990s. A possible reason for the increasing attacks might be due to human encroachment into places in which they live.

“I assume the animal was desperate due to us moving into his natural habitat” said Bishop Blanchet teacher Lauren White.

The last attack that resulted in death in the state of Washington was documented in December of 1924, when thirteen year old Jimmie Fehlhaber died after trying to outrun a cougar. Since then there have been recorded incidences of cougars attacking humans, but never, until the latest attack, has a cougar killed a person since 1924. Due to this recent attack, however, it is important to know what to do in case you are faced with this situation, and how to appropriately prepare so you have the tools and knowledge to get out of this situation alive.

“This doesn’t deter me as a hiker whatsoever,” said Bishop Blanchet senior Lars Krokum. “ This is an isolated incident.”

According to Alan Myers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, if you come across a cougar, don’t run — because the natural instinct of a cougar is to chase. Rather he suggests that authorities should advise people to keep eye contact and to try to appear larger and more intimidating.

“If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet,” said Myers. “Cougars have been driven away by people who fought back.”

This terrible attack that shocked everyone. They community hopes to find answers and peace from the results of the necropsy. The Wildlife Association reminds everyone to remain calm when in this situation, and to be aware of what to do if it occurs.

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About the Writers
Allie Boyle, reporter

Allie Boyle is a first time journalism team member entering her senior year at BBHS. During her senior year while participating in journalism and contributing to the Miter, Allie plans on improving her writing skills, and using this opportunity to get more involved in the brave community. In her free time she enjoys painting, watching Netflix, reading Vogue magazine, hanging out in cafes, and Starbucks. Allie is also an active member of the bowling team, winning the championship as a junior last year. She also has a passion for photography, and plans to attend many games, and assemblies this year and snap some great shots for the yearbook. Overall, Allie is excited to be apart of the Miter staff and is looking forward to contributing her talents and ideas.

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Molly Miska, Reporter

Molly is a senior this year and it is her first year on the Miter Staff. She hopes to further her experience in writing and journalism. In her free time, Molly enjoys cheering on the braves as a cheerleader at Blanchet. She is also on the bowling team and is the girls captain this year. Molly loves the Blanchet community and being involved in school events and activities. You can usually find her at sporting events, school dances, or on the field and court cheering on the braves.

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Kayla Ponti, Reporter

Kayla Ponti, a senior at Bishop Blanchet, is beginning her first year as a member of the Miter staff and journalism team. Kayla is excited to improve her writing skills by writing about the sports events, school news, and the Brave community. She believes that everyone should know what is going on in their community and is excited to be a voice for the Braves. Kayla is also an ambassador, captain of the girls swim team, a member of St. Vincent de Paul, and runs on the track team in the spring time. Outside of the classroom, Kayla works at Aqua Club as a lifeguard and teaches swim lessons in the summer, enjoys skiing on Friday nights at Stevens Pass, attending Blanchet sports events, and watching The Office. Kayla also enjoys keeping up with current events by watching Fox News, as well as listening to talk shows, and reading the Seattle News. Kayla is thrilled about being apart of the Miter staff and can’t wait to write for the Brave community.

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Chris Salvador, Reporter

Chris Salvador, a Senior at Bishop Blanchet, is going into his first year being a part of The Miter staff. He is excited to begin his journey as a journalist and strengthen his abilities as a writer. Chris enjoys attending sporting events, and can be found in the stands of a Bishop Blanchet football or basketball game. He is a former cross country runner and football player who enjoys the time he spent with his friends. He is currently apart of the track and field team here at Bishop Blanchet and hopes to give it his all in his final year at Blanchet. It is a new year and new opportunity to be apart of something bigger, and The Miter is the place on where Chris has set his eyes. In this incoming 2017-2018 school year, Chris hopes to inform you anything and everything Brave related. Chris wishes to be more active in the Brave community, and help show the world what it’s like here at Blanchet.

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Cougar attacks Seattle couple, killing one