Mountain lion necropsy, claws stained with blood

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Mountain lion necropsy, claws stained with blood.

A trail runner who killed a young mountain lion in the foothills west of Fort Collins last month strangled and bludgeoned the cat to death, a necropsy confirms.

“Necropsy findings suggest blunt trauma to the head, and also support the victim’s description of strangulation based on petechial hemorrhages to larynx and trachea,” the document released Thursday says.

The mountain lion attacked 31-year-old long-distance runner Travis Kauffman from behind sometime after noon on Feb. 4 on the West Ridge Trial on Horsetooth Mountain. Kauffman said he picked up a large rock and pummeled the lion in the back of the head. He then choked the cat to death with his hands, arms and feet after it bit and clawed him in the face and on his body.

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The laryngeal cartilages and trachea were covered with petechial hemorrhages, supporting a determination of strangulation, the necropsy says. The cat’s face was stained with blood around the nose and mouth and the head had numerous abrasions and bruising, the necropsy says. The animal’s brain had mild reddening. Its eyes also had petechial hemorrhages.

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Examiners were not able to establish an exact weight for the animal because scavengers ate large portions of his body, including the left side of the rib cage, the necropsy says. All thoracic and abdominal viscera had been torn away. What remained of the cat’s body weighed 24 pounds, it says. The mountain lion was between three and four months old.

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The necropsy showed that there was an abundance of dried blood in the mountain lion’s fur between the paw pads and on all four limbs.

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