The reason for a cougar attack in May near North Bend which left one man dead and another injured remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed the animal had no sign of disease. Photo from publicdomainpictures.net

The reason for a cougar attack in May near North Bend which left one man dead and another injured remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed the animal had no sign of disease. Photo from publicdomainpictures.net

Killer North Bend cougar showed no signs of disease

Autopsy sheds no light on why a cougar attacked near North Bend leaving one dead.

  • Saturday, July 21, 2018 8:30am
  • News

An autopsy report shows no evidence of disease in a cougar that killed one cyclist and injured another near North Bend in May.

The 104 pound adult male cougar was shot twice and killed by state Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and sent to various labs for testing, which showed no signs of disease, including rabies, which would have contributed to abnormal behavior and increased aggression. The 3-year-old cougar was underweight but still within a normal range. Fish and Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Kristin Mansfield said in a press release that the examination found no reason why the cougar attacked two cyclists on May 19.

The cougar was killed after it attacked 32-year-old Sonja J. Brooks who was an inclusion activist and active member of the Seattle bicycling community. Her 31-year-old biking companion, Isaac Sederbaum, was also attacked by the cougar as they rode in the forest near North Bend.

The pair saw a cougar chasing them and attempted to scare off the cat by making noise and striking the cougar with a bike, which caused it to run off. However, when the two tried to ride away the cougar ambushed them, jumping on Sederbaum and shaking him around while his whole head was in the animal’s mouth. Brooks tried to escape but the cougar dropped Sederbaum and chased the running hiker.

Sederbaum escaped on his bike and began pedalling away, riding for around two miles until he came into cell phone reception and called for help. Sederbaum was treated on the scene and taken to Harborview Medical Center. Deputies with the state’s Fish and Wildlife department later found Brooks’ body in the cougars den. The animal was subsequently shot and sent to be tested at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University.

Cougar attacks on humans are rare and it remains a mystery why the animal attacked the bikers as cougars are generally shy animals that prefer to hunt smaller animals such as deer, rabbits and goats. It is the first time a cougar has killed a human in Washington state since 1924.

Officials said the victims did everything right as they tried to defend themselves from the attack. Wildlife officials also encourage those entering wilderness to carry bear spray, a strong form of pepper spray which can be easier to use than firearms.

More in News

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

Kirkland officer fatally shoots man threatening 18-month-old child

King County Sheriff’s Office will conduct investigation into shooting.

An aerial photo shows the locations of two earthquakes and five aftershocks in and near Monroe, which rattled the Puget Sound region early Friday. The first was the magnitude 4.6 quake at upper right, 13 miles under the intersection of U.S. 2 and Fryelands Boulevard SE at 2:51 a.m. The second, magnitude 3.5, occurred 18 miles under the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road at 2:53 a.m. The aftershocks followed during the ensuing two hours. This image depicts an area about 3 miles wide. (Herald staff and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network)
Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Courtesy photo
King County Sheriff’s Office has been giving ICE unredacted information

Both the office and jail have supplied the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

University of Washington among researchers of climate change’s effects in global temperatures.

A sign in 132nd Square Park updates residents on the potential improvements taking place within the park. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Kirkland park board reviews concepts for 132nd Square Park

The city aims to better manage stormwater in Totem Lake/Juanita Creek basin.

Northwest University awaits approval of 20-year master plan

Plan includes the addition of four new structures and the replacement of three existing buildings.

Kirkland organizations receive Get Active Stay Active grants

The City of Kirkland, Imagine Housing are among the recipients.

EvergreenHealth revises failed Prop. 1 measure for the Aug. 6 ballot

The public hospital failed to pass a $345 million bond in April. The tweaked proposal will make its debut on the Aug. 6 ballot as a tax rate extension, not an increase.

Most Read