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

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.”


Orange is the new grey for Bangladesh beards

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on January 24, 2019 shows men with henna-dyed beards in Dhaka on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Orange is the new grey for Bangladesh beards

  • It is now virtually impossible to walk down a street in a Bangladesh city without seeing a colored beard

DHAKA, BANGLADESH: From shades of startling red to hues of vivid tangerine, brightly colored beards have become a fashion statement on the streets of Bangladesh capital Dhaka.
Facial hair of sunset tones is now the go-to look for older men wanting to take off the years, with an array of henna options available to the style-conscious.
“I have been using it on my hair for the last two months. I like it,” says Mahbubul Bashar, in his 50s, whose smile reflected his joy at his new look.
Abul Mia, a 60-year-old porter at a local vegetable market, agrees that the vibrant coloring can be transformative.
“I love it. My family says I look a lot younger and handsome,” he adds.
While henna has been used widely in the country for decades, it has reached new heights of popularity. It is now virtually impossible to walk down a street in a Bangladesh city without seeing a colored beard.
Orange hair — whether it’s beards, moustaches or on heads — is everywhere, thanks to the popularity of the colored dye produced by the flowering henna plant.
“Putting henna on has become a fashion choice in recent years for elder men,” confirms Didarul Dipu, head fashion journalist at Canvas magazine.
“The powder is easily found in neighborhood stores and easy to put on,” he adds.
But the quest for youth is not the only reason why more and more Dhaka barbers are adding beard and hair coloring to their services.
Top imams also increasingly use henna powder color in what experts say is a move to prove their Muslim credentials as some religious texts say the prophet Mohammed dyed his hair.
In Bangladesh most of the population of 168 million is Muslim.
“I heard from clerics that the prophet Mohammed used henna on his beard. I am just following,” says Dhaka resident Abu Taher.

Henna has long been a tradition at South Asian weddings. Brides and grooms use henna paste to trace intricate patterns on their hands for wedding parties.
It has also long been used in Muslim communities in Asia and the Middle East for beards.
Previously, aficionados created the dye by crushing henna leaves to form a paste. It was messy and time-consuming but modern henna powder is far more user-friendly.
Taher, who goes by one name, believes the dye has given his beard added vigour.
“Look at this growth. Isn’t it strong?” he exclaims pointing to his chin.
“The powder turns the grey hair red but does not change the remaining black hair,” he explains.
Some believe henna powder has health benefits and, as it is natural rather than created using man-made chemicals like some dyes, does not cause any medical issues.
The new trend has also boosted barbers’ fortunes — more men feel compelled to dye their hair and to do it more often at the salons.
“In the past we hardly would get any customers for this,” recalls Shuvo Das, who works at the Mahin Hairdressers in Dhaka’s Shaheenbagh neighborhood.
“But now there are clients who come every week to get their beard dyed,” he says.
“It takes about 40 minutes to make the beard reddish and shiny. It is also cheap. A pack cost only 15 taka (four US cents),” Das explains as he massages the dye mixture — imported from India — into a customer’s beard.
According to Dhaka University sociology professor Monirul Islam Khan, the growing number of henna beards “is a sign of increasing Muslim fervor in Bangladeshi society.”
But, he adds, even those who are not strict followers do it.
He explains: “They want to look younger. Even the women are getting fond of it as it makes their hair glitter.”