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9-Year-Old Girl Survives Fight With Cougar In Washington

Not the cougar in the story. ANDRES PINA/ATON CHILE/AFP via Getty Images

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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A 9-year-old girl from Stevens County, Lily Kryzhanivskyy, fought off a cougar in a rare attack while on a camping trip in northeastern Washington state Saturday.

Kryzhanivskyy walked up a trail with two friends around 11:00 a.m. Saturday at a camp in Fruitland, Washington, when a male cougar attacked the group, reported the Seattle Times.

The girl fought the cougar while her two friends ran to get help from adults, reported The Associated Press. Kryzhanivskyy was found covered in blood and was airlifted to the hospital.

The 9-year-old is recovering in the hospital from surgery to repair several wounds, including to her head and upper body, the outlet reported.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, Staci Lehman, said Kryzhanivskyy couldn’t have stopped the attack.

“In this instance, this little girl did nothing wrong,” Lehman said, reported the AP. “It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it.”

Lehman said Kryzhanivskyy asked her to let people know she was courageous. (RELATED: Coyote Mauls 2-Year-Old, Sending Boy To Hospital. Police Officer Opens Fire On Wild Animal)

“She wanted us to let people know that she is tough and she is very brave. [That] is what she asked us to share with people,” said Lehman, according to KIRO 7. “She’s definitely a fortunate little girl, and as she said in her own words, brave and tough.”

Lehman recommended that someone should yell and make themselves look bigger if confronted with a cougar, according to the AP.

“Do not turn around. Don’t take your eyes off the animal,” she said. “Don’t run.”

The cougar was killed after the attack, the outlet reported.

Cougar attacks are rare in Washington, with only 20 recorded in the last century, and the previous attack happened four years ago, reported the Seattle Times.