Runner recounts killing mountain lion in ‘fight for survival’

Runner Travis Kauffman had an encounter with a mountain lion while running a trail just west of Fort Collins last week. (AP)
Updated 15 February 2019
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Runner recounts killing mountain lion in ‘fight for survival’

  • “One of the thoughts that I was having was: ‘Well this would be a pretty crappy way to die’,” he said
  • He said he felt his heart sink as he processed the situation and raised his hands and began screaming

LOS ANGELES: A Colorado trail runner who survived a mountain lion attack by suffocating the animal said on Thursday that the encounter that has made him the stuff of legend was “a fight for survival.”
“One of the thoughts that I was having was: ‘Well this would be a pretty crappy way to die’,” Travis Kauffman told reporters in his first public comments about the February 4 attack.
“It very much turned into just a full-on fight for survival,” added the 31-year-old who had to have more than two dozen stitches to close wounds on his cheeks and nose.
Kauffman said he had gone out for a run when he was ambushed by the 80-pound (36-kilogram) cat.
“I heard some pine needles rustling behind me and I stopped and turned,” he recalled.
Kauffman, who is of slight build, said he felt his heart sink as he processed the situation and raised his hands and began screaming to try and scare the animal as it rushed toward him.
“Unfortunately, it kept running and then it eventually just lunged at me and ... its jaws locked into my hand and wrist,” he said.
Kauffman said that as he and the mountain lion were locked in battle, they tumbled down a trail and he managed to get the upper hand as the cat ended up on its back.
He said he was able to pin the animal’s hind legs with his feet and hit it with a rock over the head before stepping on its neck and suffocating it.
“I stepped on its neck with my right foot and just slowly after a few minutes I thought I would be getting close and then it would start thrashing again,” he said. “And I had a few more scratches that resulted from those thrashes at that point, and I’d say another couple minutes later it finally stopped moving.”
The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes, after which Kauffman said he ran off, terrified that other mountain lions may be lurking about.
He said he eventually linked up with another runner and some hikers who gave him water and drove him to a hospital.
Kauffman said while the adrenaline rush and survival instinct helped him overcome the encounter, the fact that he chose not to use his earphones to listen to music that day also played a part.
“For the most part, I don’t feel any residual trauma,” he told KUNC radio. “I tend to move forward, this is my personality.”
Authorities have praised his quick-thinking, saying he handled the situation just right.
“We all feel extremely lucky that this attack was made by a young mountain lion on a knowledgeable runner, otherwise we may have been hosting a very different press conference,” said Mark Leslie, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife manager. “These animals are ambush predators, and are trained to take quick and lethal action whenever possible.”


Welsh street named steepest in world; New Zealand loses out

Gwyn Headley and Sarah Badham hold a certificate for the record title for world's steepest street, in Harlech, Wales, Britain July 10, 2019, in this handout photo released on July 16, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 29 min 57 sec ago
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Welsh street named steepest in world; New Zealand loses out

  • The Welsh campaign was led by businessman and architectural historian Gwyn Headley. He says he feels “jubilation” now that the street has been recognized

LONDON: A street in Wales has been designated the steepest in the world after a successful campaign by residents.
The title comes at the expense of a street in New Zealand, which has apparently been eclipsed in the steepness sweepstakes.
Guinness World Records said Tuesday that the street of Ffordd Pen Llech in the seafront town of Harlech, 245 miles (395 kilometers) northwest of London, has a gradient of 37.45%, two percentage points steeper than the former title holder in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island.
The Welsh campaign was led by businessman and architectural historian Gwyn Headley. He says he feels “jubilation” now that the street has been recognized.
He says he feels sorry for New Zealand, but that “steeper is steeper.”