8-Year-Old Survives Rare Mountain Lion Attack While Camping In Washington

Cougar Washington state

Summer time draws thousands of people into National Parks across the country each year, and though the parks are generally safe, there’s always a chance of an animal encounter out in the wild.

A family in Washington unfortunately found that out when an 8-year-old was attacked by a cougar at Lake Angeles in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The child was with his mother camping near the body of water when the cougar attacked.

The mother quickly ran to her son and began screaming and making loud noises, causing the cougar to abandon the attack and run away into the surrounding woods. Park rangers were notified of the incident Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m., and quickly responded to the scene.

Upon arrival, officers tended to the child who had suffered minor injuries. The staff escorted the mother and daughter back onto the trailhead, with the child then taken to the hospital to be further evaluated and checked out for additional injuries.

Tom Kay, an Olympic National Park Wildlife Biologist, said in a statement in regards to the attack:

“Due to the extreme nature of this incident, we are closing the Lake Angeles area and several trails in the vicinity.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail, and the entire Klahhane Ridge Trail are closed until further notice.” 

With everyone out of the area, park law enforcement and “specialized cougar trackers” went to the scene where the cougar was last spotted. If the responders find the big cat, they plan to euthanize the animal and perform an autopsy to see if anything was wrong with the cougar, leading to it becoming more violent.

Towards the end of the release about the incident from the National Park Service, the document gave advice about potential cougar encounters:

“The entirety of Olympic National Park is considered cougar territory and it is important for visitors to be prepared for an encounter. It is recommended that visitors not hike or jog alone, and to keep children within sight and close to adults. Leave pets at home and be alert to your surroundings when hiking.

If you meet a cougar, it is important to not run because it could trigger the cougar’s attack instinct. Instead, people should group together, appear as large as possible, keep eyes on the animal, make lots of noise and shout loudly. Throwing rocks or objects at the cougar is also recommended.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock