Cougar Attack Prompts Closure of Olympic National Park Areas

An 8-year-old child was left with minor injuries after a cougar attacked them during a camping trip at Lake Angeles in the Olympic National Park, Washington, on Saturday. The National Park Service reported that the mother of the child was able to scare the cougar off by shouting at it. The child was subsequently transported to a local hospital for treatment.

In response to the incident, all campers in the Lake Angeles area were evacuated. The Lake Angeles and Heather Park areas have been temporarily closed to the public. As a precautionary measure, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail, and the entire Klahhane Ridge Trail will remain closed until further notice.

Amos Almy, the acting public information officer for Olympic National Park, stated that the areas would remain closed until the cougar is located or it is confirmed that the animal has relocated to a different part of the park. On Sunday morning, law enforcement and wildlife personnel specializing in cougar tracking were dispatched to the last known location of the cougar. If found, the cougar will be euthanized and removed for necropsy, as per the National Park Service’s protocol.

Almy emphasized that cougar sightings and attacks are extremely rare, indicating unusual behavior. He explained that while park rangers and wildlife biologists do not take pleasure in euthanizing wildlife, such measures are necessary in exceptional circumstances like this one.

The National Park Service advises visitors not to hike or jog alone and to ensure children are always within sight and close to adults. Although cougar-human interactions are rare in the northwest, officials advise not to run if one is encountered. Instead, they recommend making noise, appearing large, fighting back if attacked, and carrying bear spray.