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‘Tough’ and ‘brave’ 9-year-old girl is recovering after fighting off a cougar attack

SHARE ‘Tough’ and ‘brave’ 9-year-old girl is recovering after fighting off a cougar attack
Lily A. Kryzhanivskyy, 9, in the hospital with Sgt. Tony Leonetti.

Lily A. Kryzhanivskyy, 9, with Sgt. Tony Leonetti.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A 9-year-old girl who fought off a mountain lion attack is out of intensive care and recovering in a Washington hospital.

“We are extremely thankful for this little girl’s resiliency and we’re impressed with her spunk, in the face of this unfortunate encounter,” said Capt. Mike Sprecher of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police. “It happened fast and we are thankful that the adults at the camp responded so quickly.”

The girl, Lily A. Kryzhanivskyy, is in stable condition.

“She wanted us to let people know that she is tough, and she is very brave. (That) is what she asked us to share with people,” Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman told KIRO 7.

Cougar attack in Washington: What happened?

  • The attack took place the morning of May 28 at a kids camp near Fruitland, Washington, which is northwest of Spokane.
  • The girl was playing hide-and-seek with two friends on a trail when the animal, a young male, attacked.
  • The cougar “was killed at the scene,” according to WDFW.

“In this instance, this little girl did nothing wrong,” Lehman said, according to USA Today. “It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it.”

Cougar encounter in Utah in 2020

In October 2020, a man who was running up Slate Canyon in Provo caught a tense cougar encounter on video after he spotted some mountain lion cubs. Over the span of six minutes, the mother charged, hissed and followed 26-year-old Kyle Burgess, who yelled at the animal repeatedly.

“My emotions were a jumbled mess,” he said. “So it was kind of like ... ‘K, well this is going one of two ways. What’s the outcome going to be?’”

How common are cougar attacks?

Mountain lion attacks are rare. The attack in Washington was the first in that state in four years, according to KIRO.

However, according to Deseret Magazine, “shrinking boundaries between human habitat and lion habitat” in the western United States will likely lead to more encounters.

“Mountain lions continue to demonstrate a strong aversion to humans, but they are adapting their behavior to a changing environment,” according to the article.

What to do if a mountain lion attacks

Rich Beausoleil of the WDFW gives the following advice for those who find themselves in a rare encounter with a cougar (also referred to as a mountain lion).

  • “Never turn and run. That’s what prey do.”
  • “Don’t ever break eye contact.”
  • “Make yourself as big as possible. Stand tall. Wave your hands. Use your whistle if you have it.”
  • “Be ready to grab that bear spray that you have on your hip.”