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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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July 16, 2018
Contact: Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW, 509-892-1001, ext. 326
Charlie Powell, WSU, 509-335-7073

Exam of cougar linked to bicyclist's death shows no abnormalities

OLYMPIA – A report by Washington State University (WSU) about the examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist this spring near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal's unusual behavior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.

The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released today in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW's website at

Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW wildlife veterinarian, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.

She said wildlife managers are "highly confident" that the cougar was involved in the incident, because it was found so close to the attack site and because of the relatively low density of cougars in Washington. However, WDFW is awaiting the results of DNA analysis to confirm that conclusion. Those results are expected within the next month, she said.

Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. The animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.