Beyond Minnesota: Cyclist sustains injuries after cougar ‘latched onto’ her – Outdoor News

Seattle (AP) — A woman suffered injuries to her face and neck after a cougar leapt out and “latched onto” her while she was cycling with a group on a trail in Washington state, authorities said.

The incident happened Feb. 17 on a trail northeast of Fall City, a community about 25 miles east of Seattle, KOMO-TV reported. Friends of the woman, 60, “were able to detach and fight this thing off” after it “latched onto” her, said Sgt. Carlo Pace with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police.

“They were able to pin down a good-size lion with its claws and teeth and everything else under a mountain bike until we arrived,” he said.

The woman was released from the hospital.

The agency described the cougar as a 75-pound young male. The animal was shot and killed by wildlife police.

The agency said cougar attacks on people are rare.

Last July, an 8-year-old on a camping trip in Olympic National Park in Washington sustained minor injuries in a cougar attack.


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Officials: Endangered Whale Died in Collision with Ship

Washington (AP) — Federal authorities said a second critically endangered North Atlantic right whale that was found dead in the past month showed injuries consistent with a collision with a ship.

The whales number less than 360, and they have experienced decline in recent years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was notified of a dead right whale floating off Savannah, Ga., on Feb. 13.

The agency said Feb. 16 that a necropsy of the animal “found evidence of blunt force trauma including fractures of the skull,” and that those “injuries are consistent with a vessel strike prior to death.” The announcement came just days after NOAA released more details about a dead right whale off Massachusetts that showed signs of entanglement in fishing gear, which is the other major threat the animals face.

The back-to-back deaths of the rare whales that both showed evidence of the species’ two major threats could motivate rule changes, numerous environmental groups said. The groups have long pushed for stricter rules governing shipping and commercial fishing to help protect the whales.

NOAA has proposed new vessel speed rules to try to protect whales, but they have yet to go into effect. Environmental groups have sued to try to force a deadline for the new rules. New fishing standards designed to protect the whales from entanglement in rope are also the subject of ongoing lawsuits involving environmentalists, fishing groups, and the federal government.


White House, Tribes Hail Deal to Restore Salmon

Washington D.C. (AP) — The Biden administration, leaders of four Columbia River Basin tribes and the governors of Oregon and Washington celebrated last Friday as they signed papers formally launching a $1 billion plan to help recover depleted salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest.

The plan, announced in December, stopped short of calling for the removal of four controversial dams on the Snake River, as some environmental groups and tribal leaders have urged. But officials said it would boost clean energy production and help offset hydropower, transportation and other benefits provided by the dams should Congress ever agree to breach them.

The plan brokered by the Biden administration pauses long-running litigation over federal dam operations and represents the most significant step yet toward eventually taking the four Snake River dams down.


Senate Votes to Reject Governor’s Appointee to DNR Board

Madison, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted Feb. 20 to reject four of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointees, including a member of the state’s natural resources policy board.

The Senate voted along party lines to reject the appointment of Todd Ambs to the state’s Natural Resources Board. Ambs was the only one of four Evers appointees rejected by a GOP-controlled Senate committee following a tense public hearing last year. All four appointees were forwarded by Evers after the Senate in September rejected four DNR board appointees.

The Senate has yet to confirm any of Evers’ appointees to the board.

Ambs served as deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before retiring in December 2021.

Ambs was questioned by GOP lawmakers at a December hearing about his online criticism of the Republican Party. Ambs said at that hearing that he would make “no apologies” for speaking out against former President Donald Trump.

Republican Sen. Mary Felzkowski said members of the board needed to show that they could work with both Republicans and Democrats. Ambs rejected the notion that he can’t work with Republicans, saying in a statement after the vote that he has spent more than four decades working with both parties on a variety of conservation issues. He accused Republicans of making a “mockery” of the confirmation process.

“I know how to work in a bipartisan manner,” Ambs said. “The majority party in the Wisconsin State Legislature does not.”

The Assembly also was set to approve a bill that would raise bow and crossbow license fees for out-of-state deer hunters for the second time in less than a year in an attempt to shrink a gaping deficit in the state’s wildlife management account.

The Republican-authored proposal would raise out-of-state fees for bow and crossbow licenses from $165 to $200, the current cost of a nonresident gun deer license. The $35 increase is projected to generate an additional $409,000 for the account annually, according to DNR estimates.