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Runner kills attacking mountain lion on Colorado trail

NBC News logo NBC News 2/5/2019 Alex Johnson
a cat that is standing in the grass © National Park Service via AP

A trail runner fought off and killed a mountain lion in self-defense in northern Colorado on Monday, state officials said.

The runner, who wasn't identified, was attacked on the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space in Larimer County near Fort Collins, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, or CPW, said in a statement.

Authorities didn't say how the runner managed to kill the mountain lion, which they described as a "juvenile." They said the lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist and causing serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Wildlife officers found the mountain lion's body within a few feet of some of the man's possessions, authorities said.

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

Mountain lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than 20 people having been killed by one in North America in more than 100 years, state officials said. The last attack in Colorado was reported in June 2016, when a 5-year-old boy was seriously injured outside his home in Pitkin County, west of Denver. The boy survived.

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