If there has not been enough heartbreaking news involving children, multiple sources are reporting on a 9-year-old girl who miraculously survived a cougar attack in Washington State. The attack occurred in Fruitland, Washington, when the young girl was camping and attacked when wandering up a trail with two of her friends.
With only two deaths in the last century in Washington state, cougar attacks are rare in the area. A spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife mentioned the little girl did nothing wrong. “It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it," she said.
Lily A. Kryzhanivskyy, the victim of the attack, had jumped out to surprise her friends when the cougar attacked her, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said. When adults came to help and found her covered in blood, she was promptly airlifted to a hospital with multiple wounds to her head and upper body. The hospital performed surgery, where she was released from intensive care on Monday. While she was in stable condition, she remained at the hospital according to the department on Tuesday.
Following the attack, the cougar is reported to have been a young male, and adults staying at the church camp found the animal and killed it. The cougar was tested and reported to not have rabies.
“We are extremely thankful for this little girl’s resiliency, and we’re impressed with her spunk in the face of this unfortunate encounter,” said Captain Mike Sprecher from the fish and wildlife police. “It happened fast, and we are thankful that the adults at the camp responded so quickly.”
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Cougars are also known as mountain lions, and are the second-largest cat in the Americas after the jaguar. While they are solitary and secretive in nature, its rare you will spot them during the day. While they generally avoid people, there have been more attacks in recent years as humans have moved into their habitat. Generally the predators eat deer and smaller animals.
If you are attacked by a cougar, or come across one, your best move is to yell and try to make yourself look bigger. Running is said to be one of the worst things you can do. If the cougar attacks, stay on your feet and fight back. Personally, when exploring deep in the woods, I always make sure to carry a weapon in case of an attack.