Park Runner Chokes Mountain Lion To Death

When trapped by a mountain lion, what do you do? Try to flee, right? A park runner, when attacked by a lion, fought it with bare hands and choked it to death, wildlife officials said.

The man was running by himself Monday in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins, Colorado, when he heard something behind him. When he turned around, an 80-pound mountain lion attacked him, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials said,

The young lion bit the runner's face and wrist but he managed to break free and kill the lion in self-defense, the agency said.

A necropsy confirmed the animal was suffocated, officials said Tuesday. The lion, which was less than a year old, tested negative for rabies, CPW tweeted.

"The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did," said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife's northeast region manager.

The runner suffered serious injuries and was taken to a hospital but has since been released, officials said.

The trails at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space were closed to the public Tuesday after rangers encountered "more mountain lion activity in the area," the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources said.

In a Facebook post, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said that although the runner was able to kill the lion with his "bare hands," fighting is not advised; one should rather back away slowly if possible.

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