‘In my mind forever’: Young girl recovering after cougar attack, rescuer describes discovery

FRUITLAND, Wash. — A young girl is recovering after a Cougar attacked her in Stevens County.

The attack happened at a camp on Saturday morning near Fruitland, Washington. Three friends had wandered up a trail. Two ended up running for their lives while one fought for hers.

People rushed to help the young girl, Lily, who they found on a hill. What they saw will stick with them forever.

“It’s going to be in my mind and my heart forever,” said Ivan Zhuk. He was one of the first people who found Lily and helped transport her to safety. “When I got there, she was under the tree. I thought she was dead because she is hauling blood and everything, just covered in blood basically.”

While crews got Lily, 9-years-old, to safety, people at the campsite did find the young male cougar and kill it soon after. Lily’s family says Monday is the first day she’s been awake since Saturday’s attack.

“I hope she’s going to be alright,” Zhuk said.

Her family says she is quote — doing great — and is in stable condition.

While the Inland Northwest is full of all kinds of wildlife, experts say this kind of cougar attack is extremely rare.

“In the past 100 years, we’ve had two fatal attacks on humans in Washington state,” said Staci Lehman, the Communications Manager for Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

They’re investigating this attack and will test the cougar’s blood to see if it had rabies or any other symptoms that could have made it attack a human.

Lehman says Lily did everything right by fighting for her life.

“In this instance, this little girl did nothing wrong,” she said. “It happened so quickly, and there’s nothing she could have done to prevent it.”

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, try not to panic. You should also always carry bear spray when exploring the wilderness.

“Do not turn around. Don’t take your eyes off the animal,” Lehman added. “Don’t run.”

You should yell at the animal and make yourself look bigger than it is. If it attacks, “fight back as hard as you can and try to stay on your feet.”

Lily may be off her feet for a bit as she recovers, but she says she’s brave and will come back even stronger than before.

If you want to support Lily and her family on the road to recovery, you can do so HERE.

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READ: A 9-year-old girl was attacked by a cougar in Stevens County