Necropsy Report Identifies Mountain Lion Killed by Colorado Trail Runner as a 'Kitten'

Travis Kauddman said the encounter was "just like a wrestling match."
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The mountain lion a Colorado trail runner killed in early February was identified as "a kitten," wildlife officials revealed on Thursday.

According to the final necropsy report performed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife veterinarians in Fort Collins, the lion Travis Kauffman killed during his 12-15 mile run on Feb. 4 was identified as a 24-pound, three or four month old kitten. The animal was heavily sacavenged after its death and had an estimated live weight of 35 to 40 pounds. 

Kauffman spoke publicly about the encounter for the first time on Feb. 14, saying that it was "just like a wrestling match." When Kauffman saw the lion, the 31-year-old trail runner said he put his hands up and started yelling. The juvenile lion was 10 feet away but kept getting closer and eventually latched onto Kauffman's wrist with his jaws. Kauffman tried to stab the lion with sticks after pinning down its back legs. When that failed, he hit the lion in the head with a rock that he managed to grab. 

Kauffman eventually managed to escape with his life after suffocating the mountain lion by stepping on its neck.

The necropsy confirmed Kauffman's story. The animal had abrasions and bruising on the top of its head, with additional abrasions on the bridge of its nose and above the right eye. The larynx and trachea had extensive small hemorrhge pinpoints, indicating strangulation.

Wildlife officials said even though the lion was young, Kauffman did everything right in defending himself and praised him for being able to fend off the mountain lion.

Larimer County officials said they removed additional lions that they believed to be siblings of the juvenile lion involved in Kauffman's attack. The animals were generally in "good condition, hungry, but not emaciated."