KUOW – A cougar attacked them. They fought back for 45 harrowing minutes

It was a beautiful Pacific Northwest day. Sunny, puffy clouds on the horizon.

Five competitive cyclists – women in their 50s and 60s – met at the Tokul Creek trail north of Snoqualmie.

At the yellow gate before riding into the deep forest, the women took a group selfie. They had no premonition that 19 miles in, a young male cougar would attack one of them, and that they’d spend 45 minutes in a battle for their lives.

Cougars, wild cats also known as mountain lions or pumas, are reclusive and tend to stay away from humans. In the Northwest, people who spend time in the mountains know these apex predators may be lurking nearby, but sightings are rare.

Even more unusual is an attack on a human. There have been 20 cougar attacks recorded in Washington state in the last century, two of which were fatal.

This is a link you must click on to see the amazing photos and read the full story. The reason I wanted to share it was because it happened in “our backyard,” in a nearby residential area next to a recreational forest. It also shows the resiliency of three women who fought back and saved the life of their friend. Friends, what would we do without them? I have hiked our forests and those “big woods” in Glacier National Park. I carried bear spray and wore bells on my shoes. The entire time on this hike I felt eyes on the two of us. Lots of signage to give warnings. 

SEATTLE, Wash. — A Washington State woman is crediting her team of women cyclists for saving her life after she was attacked by a cougar along the Tokul Creek trail.

60-year-old Keri Bergere was riding in a group of five women on Saturday, Feb. 17 when a cougar attacked her and latched onto her jaw.

“I felt something to my right, I looked to my right, I saw the face of the cougar, and the next flash I was on the other side of the road,” Bergere said. “He had .

The rest of the story is just as fascinating. Read on.
It’s been nearly a month since the cougar attack.

An necropsy of the wild cat revealed it was between nine months to a year old. It was healthy, and its body showed no signs of physical distress. It did not have rabies.

Why the wild cat attacked Bergere will remain unknown.

The necropsy solved one mystery, however: Where Bergere’s earring disappeared to.

Sgt. Carlo Pace of Washington Fish & Wildlife Police asked Bergere if she was missing an earring. They had found one in the cougar’s belly.

Keri Bergere, a survivor of a recent cougar attack, is portrayed on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at Log Boom Park in Kenmore. The earring in Bergere’s right ear was swallowed by the cougar and later mailed back to her.

Did she want it back? Sgt. Pace asked.

“Absolutely,” she said. Bergere said she would hang it, as a souvenir of sorts, and a testament to her friends’ courage.

“All these ladies came up with superhuman strength,” she said. “They’re teeny ladies, and I know that the Fish & Wildlife shot the final shot to kill it. But these ladies killed that cougar with their bare hands and no weapons. I’m eternally grateful to each one of them.”

Written for the web by Isolde Raftery.

It was a beautiful Pacific Northwest day. Sunny, puffy clouds on the horizon.
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