Mountain lion killed by Colorado jogger was a kitten, report says

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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What to Do if You Encounter a Mountain Lion

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The mountain lion that a Colorado trail runner killed in self-defense was only a few months old, according to the animal's necropsy report.

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According to the necropsy performed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife veterinarians, the mountain lion that attacked Travis Kauffman Feb. 4 in Fort Collins was a male, between 4 and 5 months old, NBC News reported.

The big cat weighed 24 pounds, according to the report. However, veterinarians noted the animal had been scavenged and likely weighed between 35 to 40 pounds when it was alive.

Though the term "kitten" is used to describe the mountain lion in the report, the word could simply mean an immature lion, USA Today reported.

There’s reason to believe the attacking kitten and his siblings may have been without a mother, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay said.

"Mountain lions are solitary animals, only coming together for breeding," Clay said. "We had no signs of an adult female being anywhere near the scene that day, or in the following days, which is one reason why we think these kittens were orphaned."

Kauffman, 31, said he was running in Horsetooth Mountain Park when he heard something behind him, according to a previous Cox Media Group report. He turned around to investigate, and was attacked by the lion. The mountain lion managed to bite his face and wrist before Kauffman was able to break free.

Kauffman suffocated the animal with his bare hands. He then hiked to safety and received treatment at a nearby hospital.

"Necropsy findings supported the description of events given by the victim," the necropsy report said. "The cause of death was determined to be multi-factorial including blunt trauma and strangulation."

Wildlife officials said even though the lion was young, Kauffman did everything right in defending himself, according to USA Today.