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By Alex Johnson
A mountain trail in northern Colorado remains closed for the rest of the week after a mountain lion attacked an unarmed trail runner killing the animal His bare hands said the authorities Tuesday.
The runner, who has not been identified, was attacked on the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins Monday, said the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Agency. [1
The man "had no weapons," Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for wildlife agency, told NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver.
"He was really creative," said Petersburg. "He used his hands, feet – things that were around him – and that was really just a struggle for survival."
Authorities described only the animal as a mountain lion that was less than a year old and said they could not determine its weight or exact age because other animals had begun to eat it when they found their body near Some of man's possessions.
The cat tested negative for rabies, "which is very welcome news," said the wildlife agency.
Petersburg said the man followed the state guidelines when the cat confronted him: He put his hands in the air, made a lot of noise and stood his ground.
But "probably what happened here is that the lion had an instinct triggered," Peter said to kusa. "It wasn't that much to trace a person or enter a human. It just had an instinct triggered as it would if you were to throw a ball of yarn over the ground for a cat."
The state wildlife department and Larimer County rangers originally reopened the track area on Monday night. But they closed all paths again on the open space on Tuesday after rangers experienced more mountain rental activity in the area, said the state agency. The closure will be reassessed on Friday, it said.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis spoke in a statement: "Don't ride the Colorado trail runners."
"A runner near Fort Collins killed an attacking mountain lion with his bare hands," police said Tuesday. "Don't try it yourself on purpose, as it will probably stop you bad."
Petersburg said it was the most incredible story he had been with for 17 years with the department.
"To be able to see a human being standing opposite as such and coming out on the other side, it is quite incredible," he said.
On Tuesday, state officials repeated that mountain camp attacks on people are extremely rare. The state's last attack was reported in June 2016 when a 5-year-old boy was seriously injured outside his home in Pitkin County, west of Denver. The boy survived.