A viral video of a runner and a mother cougar went viral this week. A runner in Utah encountered a mother cougar that was defending her kittens. In the video, the hiker backs away as the cougar follows him, sometimes lunging or starting to run. He talks in a loud voice, telling her “No” and “Go get your babies. Go away” multiple times before she finally turns back and runs to her babies.
"My heart is racing."
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has sent out some important reminders about what to do if you encounter a cougar while on a run. Read on for their recommendations, per an email from the group,
- “Don’t run! Running will provoke the predatory chasing behavior of cougars, as it would with other predators such as bears, coyotes, and wolves.
- Pick up small children or pets that are with you.
- Directly face the cougar, but look at the cougar’s feet, not directly into their eyes, to avoid appearing aggressive.
- If the cougar displays aggressive behavior try to appear larger—raise your arms or open your jacket over your head.
- Make noise by yelling, blowing a whistle or an air horn.
- If you have an umbrella, quickly open and close it while facing the cougar.
- Do not approach the cougar. Give it ample space to run away – don’t corner it.
- If there are cubs, be careful not to get between them and their mother.”
It is very rare that a cougar will attack! If a cougar attacks, according to the HSUS,
- “In the very rare event that you are attacked by a cougar, fight back in any way that you can. People have stopped attacks by hitting the cougar with sticks, their hands, baseball caps, and garden tools.
- There are no repellents that have been registered for use on cougars, but the pepper (capsaicin) sprays sold to deter attacks by dogs, bears, and people or even a fire extinguisher may be effective.”
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States tweeted about this video and shared “The viral video of a runner & a mother cougar defending her kittens shows how critical it is to stay calm in these rare incidents. He did the right thing slowly backing away & yelling. It’s crucial to exit the conflict ASAP.”
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