Thursday, August 31, 2006

Update on British Columbia cougar attack

Jules S. Xavier
Black Press
Aug 31 2006

Paul Krismer does not "begrudge" a young cougar who attacked his four-year-old son.

In fact, the Comox Valley father concedes the unprovoked attack at Schoen Lake Provincial Park, south of Woss, was simply an isolated incident.

Speculating on why the cougar attacked at roughly 8 p.m. on Aug. 18, Krismer said conservation officers told him the one-year-old male animal was searching for food, and his son Paul Daniel playing a few metres away on the beach likely looked like easy prey.

"In my view, he saved his own life -he hunched over and tucked his head in and that likely saved him," Krismer told media during a press conference at the playground in Comox Marina Park, near the family home.

"I would have liked closure on this, with the cougar being (found and) killed, but I don't begrudge the animal because it's living out there too," Krismer said.

Krismer, who was standing on a nearby log and fishing, jumped and landed squarely on the animal with both feet. He kicked the animal twice more before it retreated back into the wilderness.

"I have a resilient son," he said of the youngster's bravery in the face of a 100-pound cougar that raked his back with front claws and clamped down on the back of his head with powerful jaws.

"I saw the cougar," offered Paul Daniel on his experience with an animal he'd only seen previously in photographs. "I seen the bushes move a bit - I remember hearing the bushes crackle."

Krismer's son draws a blank when asked to describe the attack further. He recalls an "ouch" when the cougar bit down into his skull.

Krismer acted out of instinct and on adrenalin when he saw his boy being attacked. Mom Rosemary Abram also sprinted across the beach barefooted to help her son, but her husband had already thwarted the attack.

"I had a momentary panic before I jumped that I might be (hurt). I ran along the log and just leaped onto the cougar.

"When I picked up my son (after the attack) I was thrilled he was okay. We assessed his wounds and found a puncture wound from an incisor at the back of his head. He had a lot of raked cuts over (Paul's) head and back."

The Krismer family spent the night watching over their son before taking him to Campbell River's hospital. Doctors assessed his injuries and provided antibiotics to prevent infection from the cougar bites.

While checking on their sleeping son, dad asked how he was doing following the attack. "He said 'great'."

Krismer never felt any danger for himself or the family while camping at Schoen, which was closed for a week while wildlife officials did an extensive search for the elusive predator.

Conservation officers conducted a canine-aided search for the animal planning to destroy it if trapped, but were unsuccessful and have since discontinued efforts pending another sighting. The park reopened Friday Aug. 25.

Krismer applauded the efforts of conservation officers, with one visiting his home to take measurements of his son's wounds to ascertain the cougar's age. list.cgi?paper=21&cat=23&id=717322&more="

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