Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cougar attacks child on Canada's Vancouver Island

CBC News
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 | 3:31 PM PT

A young boy is recovering at home after being attacked by a cougar in Schoen Lake Provincial Park on northern Vancouver Island last Friday night.

The four-year-old from Comox, B.C., was playing on a log, watching his father fish near the park campsite when the cat pounced on him from behind.

"He sustained puncture wounds and lacerations to the back of his head and scalp area and he has some lacerations on his shoulders and back," said conservation officer Dan Dwyer.

"The dad heard the screams, came down the log and jumped on the cougar, administered several blows … until such time the cougar actually let go and retreated back into the woods."

The youngster was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and released. His name has not been made public.

Conservation officers used dogs to search for the cougar but could not find it.

The park, 140 kilometres north of Campbell River, was closed following the attack. It is scheduled to reopen this Friday.

Cougar safety tips

Parks officials say small pets and children are more likely than an adult to be attacked by a cougar.

They advise that people who encounter a cougar should not run or turn their backs on the animal. Instead, they should raise their arms to make themselves look bigger, act aggressively and throw things at it if possible. But the cougar should also be given room to escape.

If the cougar does attack, officials say, fight back and do not play dead.

Cougars weigh 40 to 90 kilograms and can reach more than two metres in length, including their tails.

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