San Luis Obispo, California resident Robin Olson was hiking with his son on Saturday around 5:30 PM in Prefumo Canyon when they encountered a mountain lion. Olson immediately told his son to flee before the animal "lunged" and attacked. The former college wrestler then grabbed the cat by the neck in order to defend himself, and broke it in the ensuing struggle. The mountain lion died as a result.
"It's horrible, I mean, I love animals. I just happened to be in her space by accident," a regretful Olson told KSBY.
Olson suffered from a series of scratches, but was otherwise unharmed. He blames the incident on having been hiking off-trail, away from the designated path.
The National Park Service estimates the total California mountain lion population to be around 5,000, and claims that attacks are extremely rare—with only three fatal attacks in the United States within in the last 16 years.
The service lists four safely precautions concerning possible contact (do not run, shout and wave your arms in order to look large and threatening, maintain eye contact, and throw sticks and rocks), but mentions that if an attack occurs, fight back.
UPDATE: After interviewing Robin Olson, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined that his story is not true. Read about the hoax here.
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