Cougar Attack Leaves One Biker Dead and Another Injured in Washington State

Silhouetted male mountain biker looking out at sunset
Jonathan Blackham / Getty Images

Two men were attacked by a cougar over the weekend while biking in the Cascade Mountains in Washington, and the incident left one of the men dead and the other one seriously injured, according to the Associated Press.

The cyclists were riding early in the morning when they were confronted by the cougar, which was emaciated and only weighed 100 pounds, according to local officials. Capt. Alan Myers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police said that cougars in this area usually weigh between “140 to 180 pounds.”

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The pair followed safety protocols, authorities said, by getting off their bikes, facing the cougar, standing their ground, and yelling at the animal. One of the men also hit the cougar with his bike, which caused it to run away. But eventually, the cougar returned, biting one of the men in the head before chasing after the second cyclist, pouncing on him and killing him. The man bitten first, identified as 31-year-old Isaac Sederbaum, survived the attack, while 32-year-old S.J. Brooks was identified by authorities as the deceased victim.

“They did everything they were supposed to do,” said King County sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Abbott. “But something was wrong with this cougar.”

After the attack, Sederbaum was able to get back on his bike and had to ride for two miles before being able to call the authorities. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife later tracked down the cougar and euthanized the animal. Sederbaum’s injuries require surgery for cuts and bites he received on his neck, face, and head, according to The Seattle Times.

It was the first fatal attack by a cougar in Washington in over 90 years, the last being in 1924 when a 13-year-old was killed, according to NBC News.

“What was unusual was the mountain lion circled around and attacked rather than stalked and ambushed. A mountain lion that presents itself to prey — that’s not a normal mountain lion,” Mark Elbroch, a puma program scientist for global wildcat conservation organization Panthera, told NBC News. “We have to make some common-sense decisions. If you have small children, for example, don’t let them run on the trail beyond your view. Living in mountain lion country, that’s something you don’t do.”

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