Cougar Follows Jogger for Nearly Six Minutes in Harrowing Video
A hiker in Provo, Utah filmed a frightening encounter he had with a cougar as the big cat followed him for roughly six minutes.
The video, which has gone viral, was filmed by Kyle Burgess who was on a 10-mile run in Slate Canyon when he spotted small animals in the distance. He took out his camera to record them, thinking they were bobcats, but soon realized he had made a mistake when a large cougar (also called mountain lion) jumped out of the brush to protect them, as The Deseret News reported
"You see the two cubs and one kind of runs off, but then I didn't notice mom was right there and that's when I knew it was not a good situation to be in," he told CBS News.
Burgess retreated from the cougar quickly and let out a long stream of profanities as he continued to record as the cat followed him down the trail. According to NPR, Burgess maintained eye contact with the cougar while it hissed and growled at him. In one chilling moment roughly 3 minutes and 25 seconds into the video, she comes close to him and flails out her front paws as if she is intending to attack.
"Come on, dude," Burgess says to the cougar 10 seconds later. "I don't feel like dying today."
Burgess goes through a series of self-defense maneuvers in the video. He walks away, pleads with the animal, reminds her to return to her babies, and growls and woofs to make himself seem menacing. Toward the end of the encounter, about 5 minutes and 40 seconds into the video, Burgess picks up a rock and throws it at the cougar. She turns and darts back down the road, likely back to the cubs she left behind.
Burgess then sits and turns the camera onto himself to show his trembling hand.
Kate Remsen, who works with the Living with Lions, told CBS News that the mountain lion was not looking for an encounter or truly threatening him. Instead, she was pushing him away from her cubs. Remsen added that altercations with cougars are extremely rare.
"These mountain lions are not going to actively attack a human being unless they need to defend themselves or they're scared," she said.
Officials with Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources praised Burgess' strategy during the encounter. Scott Root, a conservation manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, suggested that runners and hikers always travel with someone else, but otherwise said Burgess did everything correct, as The Deseret News reported.
"He backed away. He didn't go toward the mountain lion or her kittens. He made a lot of noise ... He stayed large, he stayed loud and he backed away from the area for quite a while. I think he did everything really well."
The post included tips for encountering a cougar, including maintaining eye contact and making yourself look big and threatening.