Video of female puma with cubs defending her family against a jogger

This is a nice video of a female puma with cubs defending her family against what she considered to be a hostile invader but who was a jogger, Kyle Burgess, running in Provo, Utah, USA. My first impression is that the female cougar looks quite small. People have a perception that the cougar is a really large, highly dangerous wild cat but their size varies tremendously and sometimes they’re surprisingly small which of course makes them less dangerous.

I thought Kyle panicked too much myself but perhaps I’m alone in this thought. Although, he kept calm enough to realise that it was a rare moment to be captured on video. It must have been quite difficult videoing the event while at the same time keeping the cat at bay. He was 2 miles up Slate Canyon and nearing the end of his run when he saw four cougar cubs on the trail. He videoed them and then their mother emerged. He wasn’t sure what species of cat the cubs were until she arrived on the scene.

Kyle Burgess after the event
Kyle Burgess after the event winding down and reflecting on what happened. Screenshot.
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I know it’s going to be a bit scary because you can see yourself being mauled and there is no doubt that this cat could have hurt him but they can be scared away as the video demonstrates. She keeps her distance so Kyle was not the only scared creature on that trail. I think he did well in making a lot of noise and in the end threw a rock at her which made contact. She ran off. I think he played it out pretty well.

Scott Root, a conservation outreach manager for Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources added that it can help for joggers to carry a bear repellent to defend themselves under these circumstances.

Tracking female cougar
Tracking female cougar. Keeping her distance so she was scared too. Screenshot.

Cougars are retiring cats. They tend to stay away and hide from people. Therefore, this female was driven to come out in the open and face off with a human. Root and his team searched the area for the cougar and her kittens but she had moved on. He remarked that Kyle’s encounter was a once-in-a-lifetime event. On that basis, perhaps he should have been enjoyed it more! Just kidding. I guess it proves that cougars are incredibly secretive. They have to be to steer clear of dangerous people. Root also suggests that people should avoid jogging at dawn and dusk when they are most active.

Kyle was tracked by the cat for about six minutes – the video is unedited and in real time. You can see what happens so I won’t describe it in words. He moved away from the cat quite quickly but I think he kept facing it to avoid giving the impression that he was a prey animal running away by turning his back towards her. This must have helped. It was probably very important. Perhaps we can thank social media. Because Kyle was keen to video the event for social media he had to turn towards the puma.

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3 thoughts on “Video of female puma with cubs defending her family against a jogger”

  1. A shortened version of this was on the local newscasts for a couple of days. I concur that he overreacted a bit. Anyone who lives in that area, even here in New England where pumas are also common, should have the wherewithal to never jog at dawn or dusk. Bear repellant and a loud bear horn are also a must-have.

    Glad that he videotaped his encounter for others to see. The fact that he faced the big cat was a smart move. A local wildlife expert here also suggested that anyone in the wilderness like this also have a mask worn backwards, as animals like this are less likely to attack if they see a face. Sounds plausible.

    On the other hand, seeing cubs and not exiting the area immediately was his first mistake. Growing up, my dad was a hunter (food only, never for sport) with pearls of wisdom. He always told us, if you see cubs around (cats, bear, deer, et al), you know momma’s not far behind. Let this be a lesson.

    1. Well said Gail and thanks for your thoughts. My first thought as mentioned was that the puma is smaller than one envisages. The puma is painted as a huge and dangerous predator. And they are quite a shy cat. They don’t want to get involved with people and wisely.

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