The official necropsy report of the mountain lion strangled to death by a runner has been released, and reveals the lion had been ‘a kitten’ at the time of its death.
Travis Kauffman, of Fort Collins, Colorado, made headlines in early February after it emerged he had fought off and killed a mountain lion with his bare hands.
31-year-old Kauffman had been out running when the lion attacked. He struck the lion on the back of the head with a rock before placing his foot on its neck until it stopped moving.
It has now emerged that the young lion was an estimated three to four months old when it died, with an approximate live weight of between 35 to 40 pounds.
Details from the necropsy report have now been published by the Coloradoan.
According to the Coloradoan, the report found the lion had in a ‘fair condition’ at the time of its death, with no diseases having been noted.
The necropsy stated, ‘blood-staining of the scavenged tissues suggests the scavenging took place perimortem (meaning taking place at or around the time of death)’, adding ‘[the] pattern of scavenging is reminiscent of feline predation’.
It is believed the lion’s body was partially eaten by its siblings, with teeth marks found on the corpse matching the size of its own teeth. This is apparently a common behavior among lions.
It is unclear what the sex of the lion had been, as its genital organs had been scavenged. However, the absence of a uterus suggested to officials that the lion had been male.
Speaking with the press after the attack, Kauffman – who at 5’10” and weighs 150 pounds – said:
I knew with two pretty good blows to the back of the head (and) it didn’t release, that I was probably going to have to do something a little more drastic. I was able to kind of shift my weight and get a foot on its neck.
It finally stopped moving and then the jaws opened and I was able to kind of scramble back up the hill and get the heck out of Dodge.
Despite the young age of the mountain lion, wildlife officials have advised Kauffman did the right thing when defending himself during the attack.
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