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8-year-old survives cougar attack at Washington’s Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is around a two-hour drive from Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket/Getty Images/FILE)

(CNN) — An 8-year-old was left with minor injuries after being attacked by a cougar in Washington’s Olympic National Park on Saturday evening, park officials said.

The child was camping with their mother at Lake Angeles, in the Heart O’ the Hills area south of Port Angeles when the cougar attacked, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

The feline predator “casually abandoned its attack after being yelled and screamed at by the child’s mother,” the park service said.

Park personnel were notified about the attack at 6:30 p.m. and quickly responded, the release said.

The child experienced “minor injuries” and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Park staff escorted the family back to the trailhead, says the release.

Staff evacuated all campers in the Lake Angeles area and closed the Lake Angeles and Heather Park areas until further notice.

“Due to the extreme nature of this incident, we are closing the Lake Angeles area and several trails in the vicinity,” said Olympic National Park wildlife biologist Tom Kay in the news release. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail, and the entire Klahhane Ridge Trail are closed until further notice.”

On Saturday at 5:00 a.m., park law enforcement and “wildlife personnel specializing in cougar tracking” were sent to the animal’s last known location, the release added. If they locate the cougar, they will euthanize it and perform a necropsy, according to the release.

“This may provide clues as to why the animal attacked since cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare,” the park service said.

Washington is home to around 1,900 to 2,100 adult cougars, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The department notes that the animals – also called panthers, pumas, and mountain lions – are elusive and rarely interact with humans.

“A person is one thousand times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a cougar,” according to the department. “But as Washington’s human population grows, and more and more people are recreating outdoors, the chance of observing or encountering cougars may increase.”

All of Olympic National Park is considered “cougar territory,” the park service said. The agency urged visitors to avoid hiking or jogging alone, stay alert to their surroundings, and make lots of noise if they do encounter a cougar.

The Lake Angeles campground is about 100 miles west of Seattle.