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

Edmonton Journal - - Canada - Van­cou­ver Sun and The Cana­dian Press VAN­COU­VER

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.

AL­LAN SCHROEDER/ SPE­CIAL TO THE VAN­COU­VER SUN, CANWEST NEWS SER­VICE

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.

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