9-Year-Old Hospitalized in ICU but Conscious and 'Fully Aware' Following Cougar Attack
The Washington girl had been at a nearby children's camp when the attack occurred.
A 9-year-old miraculously survived after coming face-to-face with a cougar during a Memorial Day Weekend camping trip in northwest Washington state. Young Lily Kryzhanivskyy remains hospitalized in the ICU, but is awake and talking as of Monday, according to her family.
“She is fully aware of what happened to her, she can speak clearly, think clearly, move her arms and legs,” her aunt Alex Mantsevich said in a GoFundMe organized on her family’s behalf.
Lily had been attending a kids' camp near Fruitland, about an hour-and-a-half outside of Spokane, when she and two friends wandered up a trail and encountered the cougar, according to the Associated Press.
Her two friends were able to rush to safety while Lily fought back, the AP reported. Adults at the camp found her covered in blood and called for help, while someone else at the camp found the young male cougar and killed it, according to the AP.
“I don’t have any details about what happened in the attack, but my understanding is that it was so fast, there’s nothing she could’ve done,” Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) spokesperson Staci Lehman told press, according to Fox 28 Spokane.
But authorities are continuing to investigate the attack.
“We’re also preparing the cougar carcass to be tested for diseases — to see if it was sick, ill, starving, or anything like that—to help determine what would spur an attack,” Lehman said.
Cougar attacks are extremely rare, with only two fatal attacks and 19 incidents that led to injuries over the last 100 years, authorities said.
However, Lehman advised that if someone does encounter a cougar, “Make noise when you're hiking, carry bear spray, give the cougar space, make eye contact with it, walk backwards – never turn your back and never run. If it gets aggressive, make yourself look as large as possible and yell at it.
"If it acts like it is going to attack, throw rocks, a water bottle, or use your bear spray," Lehman continued. “"If it does attack, do your best to stay on your feet and fight back. Don't play dead with a cougar."
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