By Russ and Tiña De Maris
UPDATE: Wildlife officials have explained that the cougar was not stalking or chasing the jogger, but was pushing him away from the cubs, i.e., “escorting” him away from her family. But the video is still fascinating to watch. And, face it, if you found yourself in this situation, we think you’d be pretty darn scared (we would).
“A panther is like a leopard except it hasn’t been peppered. Should you behold a panther crouch, prepare to say ouch. Better yet, if called by a panther don’t anther.” So opined Ogden Nash. For Kyle Burgess, not answering wasn’t among the options. On a jog on a Utah hiking trail, Burgess found himself not only called – but followed closely and intently by a cougar.
Cute kittens – not!
Like any good nature-lover, Kyle keeps his eyes open, and when he spotted some fuzzy little kittens, well, what do you do? Take out that celly and take some pictures, right? But those cute little kittens’ mama is not the kind of cat to meow. Mama cougar took a bit of offense to Kyle’s interest and expressed it in no uncertain terms. Despite the size of the big cat, Kyle somehow kept his cool – and his camera on – recording a six-minute encounter that nightmares are made of. [Editor: If the video doesn’t show, let us know in the comments and we’ll find another link. The first link we had included was removed from YouTube. This is too amazing to miss! This copy courtesy 6abcPhiladelphia.]
The video, as they say, has gone viral. The soundtrack probably wouldn’t win any awards, as it’s mostly a series of expletives that have been deleted for the sake of sensitive ears. They are occasionally punctuated with Kyle’s interesting and sometimes amusing “conversation” with the big cat. They generally amount to “Go away!” and hissing noises he hoped would send Mom back to the cubs. At what could only be humorous to someone other than the “chased,” Kyle at one point tries the positive affirmation thing, telling the cougar (in a quivering voice), “I’m big and I’m scary!”
What to do if you encounter
a mountain lion in the wild.
Advice and a short video.
Tracked by a cougar, just how the young man managed to keep up a good pace, going backwards on a rough trail so as to keep eye contact with the cat and not fall flat is probably something that could be filed under “miracle.” The video shows the cat keeping a bit of a distance, then getting closer, and at a couple of points, making a leap with bared claws. Finally, Kyle hucks a rock at the enraged feline, which must have been enough. Game over: Kyle keeps his life.
Chased or followed by a cougar – what response?
What do you do if you’re chased or tracked by a cougar? The usual advice still applies: Make LOTS of noise. Try to make yourself look bigger, and theoretically more intimidating. Keep eye contact, and if you can, bare your teeth. For those with false teeth, try to keep them in your mouth. A walking stick is a potential defensive device, but for Kyle, apparently sticks or stones will do the trick. DON’T mess around with forest babies, because while little deer are cute and their mama will probably stay back, not all forest mamas are nearly as agreeable. For more information, check out this informative article.