Dad scares off cougar with his son in its jaws
Boy mad at ‘bad cat’ but doesn’t realize how close he was to death
Until a loud crack in the bush and a flash of tawny brown made him spin around, Paul Krismer’s family camping trip at a remote Vancouver Island park had been idyllic.
Moments later, acougar hadKrismer’s four-and-a-half-year-old son, Paul Daniel, in his jaws — and the B.C. man had mere seconds to save him.
“It all happened so quick you don’t have any fear necessarily … I just ran down this fallen log to wherePaul was,” Krismer said about the Friday night incident.
“They had fallen on the ground and the cougar still had its jaws around Paul’s head so I jumped on the cougar’s chest with both feet.”
The cougar let go of his boy after a few more kicks and fled into the bushes, he said. Krismer, 38, said his son survived theattack withbite wounds tohis headand upper body. He was treatedat hospital and released.
“We were lucky for sure. It could have beenover in seconds,” he said. “Instead, my sonhas somenot-so-bad cuts. I can’t even say it was really nasty cuts.”
But theboy is mad at thebig cat, his father saidWednesday. Theboy knows he was ambushed by a cougar, but has no sense of how close he came to losing his life, his father said.
“He thinks it’s a bad cat that made a bad choice,” he said.
“I honestly don’t think he has a whole lot of sense about his own mortality.”
Instead, he said his son is living thelife of a four-year-old and the attack wasn’t much worse than any other calamity that would befall a kid of his age.
“You wipe out on your bike one day andacougar attacks you thenext,” said Krismer.
“Then you fall off the swings the day after that. It’s just another thing that happens.”
The attackmay have left more lasting trauma for Paul’s dad, whoheld anews conferenceWednesday inComox, B.C., because media interest in the story has been so fierce. Paul squirmed and looked uncomfortable with the television cameras trained on him.
The Krismers, who live in the Comox Valley, were camping at Schoen Lake Provincial Park, an area with about 15 campsites and located about one hour north of Campbell River.
Before the sudden attack, the family, including mom Rosemary Abram and other son, eight-year-old, David, had been at Schoen Lake for two days enjoying the fine weather and the beauty of surrounding mountains.
He said the attack occurred while he was fishing from a log at the edge of a lake. Theboy was at theother end of the log on the shore.
The attack left Paul Daniel with one deep puncture wound in his head and various other bite marks.
“One of the cougar’s incisor teeth was well stuck into Paul’s head so there was one serious puncture wound. But none of theother incisor teethgot agoodgrip but hehadbeenbitten several times and there were minor cuts in across theback of his head,” Krismer said.
Theattack was allover in about 10 seconds, he added, describing the cougar as weighing about 40 kilograms and “about the size of a Labrador” dog.
Conservation officers who later came and measured Paul’s incisor wounds toldKrismer theanimal was likely about a year old and had probably been pushed away by its mother because she was getting ready to have more young.
Conservation officers, who haven’t been able to track the cougar, say the boy was lucky he wasn’t more seriously injured or killed. Cougar attacks are rare. Last April, six-year-old Bryce Forbes of Gold River on northern Vancouver Island was credited with saving his brother Tucker, 5, fromacougar that was stalking the boys in their garage.
In 1996, in Princeton, in B.C.’s Interior, mother Cindy Parolin was killedby a cougar while protecting her son.
In 1994 in Gold River, a cougar attacked seven-year-old Kyle Musselman as he walked to school. Musselman was seriously wounded and lost an eye.
Experts suggest cougarsmay be attracted tochildrenbecauseof their higher-pitched voices, saying they may resemble small prey.
Paul Daniel Krismer and his dad, Paul, speak with the media after the boy was attacked by a cougar in B.C. Paul Daniel survived relatively unscathed with minor injuries to the back of his neck and head after his father scared away the predator.