Just weeks ago, Travis Kauffman was hailed as being almost super human for killing a mountain lion with his bare hands after reportedly allegedly attacked him while he was jogging on a trail in Colorado. Now, wildlife officials are adding a damper to the image of Kaufman’s “life and death” struggle with the big cat.
After a necropsy was performed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife veterinarians, the animal was determined to be around 4 to 5 months old and probably weighed about 30 to 40 pounds at the time of the attack, NBC News reports.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay, the mountain lion and its siblings were probably without their mother, who is typically the sole caretaker. The dead kitten’s two siblings were captured after the attack and transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center and will be released back into the wild.
Speaking to authorities after the attack, Kauffman said that he hit the cat in the head with a rock and then stepped on its throat, ultimately killing it. His story blew up on social media and news outlets for its rare nature — a human defeating a vicious predator in a physical confrontation. Initial reports claimed Kauffman strangled the animal with his “bare hands.”
Kauffman claimed that he feared for his life because he was worried that the cat’s mother was nearby and would attack him as well.
According to wildlife officials, the cat’s age is irrelevant and Kauffman did the right thing by fighting back.
Before the necropsy, the exact size of the cat was unclear because a good portion of the carcass was devoured by scavengers.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Ty Petersburg said in a statement after the story first broke. “This could have had a very different outcome.”
Kauffman is 31 and stands 5 feet, 10 inches and weighs 150 pounds.
Update: The mixed reactions to this post merit a response. Some seem to think this article is intended to be detrimental to Travis Kauffman. That’s not the case. It simply highlights the fact that when more details about the story emerged, it undercut the narrative of some media outlets that suggested Kauffman fought and killed a grown mountain lion, which made his actions out to be some sort of a superhuman feat. There’s no doubt that he was in danger and he had to defend himself. It’s just that now we know his ability to overpower the lion was not all that inconceivable.
Featured image: Alamy stock photo