Bicyclists in cougar attack identified; mountain lion was “emaciated”

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The man killed in Saturday’s mountain lion attack in the Cascade foothills east of North Bend has been identified as S.J. Brooks, 32, a Seattle bicycle enthusiast and advocate. His injured friend, also of Seattle, was identified as Isaac Sederbaum, 31.

The two were identified by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to the Seattle Times.

Brooks, a bicycle mechanic, helped create a Seattle chapter for Friends on Bikes, where “women, trans, femme, and non-binary people of color can come together and have fun on bikes,” according to an Oct. 5, 2017 post in the Seattle Bike Blog.

According to his Linked In profile, Brooks earned a doctorate in the history of art and architecture at Boston University in 2016, the Seattle Times reported.

Meanwhile, the carcass of the mountain lion that attacked the pair has been sent to Washington State University in Pullman for examination. The male cougar was described as “emaciated” by wildlife officials.

The 3-year-old male weighed about 100 pounds, at least 40 pounds underweight for a cougar that age.

Wildlife officials want to try to determine why the cougar attacked the pair, which is an extremely rare occurrence. It was the first fatal cougar attack since 1924; a period which saw fewer than 20 attacks overall.

According to reports, the two first noticed the mountain lion was stalking them. They stopped and one swung his bike at the animal, which left. Then it circled back and attacked Sederbaum. When Brooks bolted, the cougar switched his attention to him and chased him down, killing him. Sederbaum, in the meantime, biked away to get into cellphone range and called for help.

Cpl. Alan Myers of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife told the Seattle Times:

“You are in a flight or fight situation – you are going to want to flee and it’s completely natural but it triggers a chase response in a cougar.”


“Wearing brightly contrasting clothing can help a lion distinguish you from its natural prey.
“Lions aren’t able to see in sharp focus or in detail. Leaning down or bending over also makes the neck and back of the head vulnerable, and this is where a lion will target an attack.
“Rapid movement of any kind — like biking or jogging — may trigger a lion’s instinct to chase.
“Lions will not turn their back on your if they view you as dangerous, because they know from their own hunting behavior that predators attack from behind. So a lion not back down is often a sign that you already have the advantage.
“The best way to ensure that both you and the lion may leave safely is for you to back away slowly while continuing to look as big and intimidating as possible, leaving the lion avenues of escape.
“People survive encounters with mountain lions when they behave aggressively. Not only does being hit by a thrown rock hurt, but it makes it very clear that you are not a deer or coyote.”



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