A 9-year-old girl is hospitalized in Washington state after becoming the rare victim of a cougar attack in that state. The girl was walking on a camping trail near Fruitland on Saturday morning with two friends when the cougar attacked, reports KXLY. The two friends ran for help, and the girl was found bleeding and badly injured under a tree. People at the camp then found the male cougar and killed it, and authorities are testing for rabies. The girl was airlifted to a hospital and is recovering after surgery for wounds to her upper body, per the AP.
Only about 20 cougar attacks have been reported in Washington state over the last century, two of which were fatal, reports the Seattle Times. Cougars typically steer clear of humans and hunt at night, with deer being a favored prey. "In this instance, this little girl did nothing wrong," says state Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman. "It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it." (Read more cougar stories.)