The 7-year-old's mistake was in running. Good thing he had a badass Canadian mom looking out for him. Chelsea Lockhart tells CTV News she heard a commotion outside her home on British Columbia's Vancouver Island Friday and emerged to find her son, Zachery, being dragged by a juvenile male cougar that was "attached to his arm." There was no time to think. "I had a mom instinct, right? I just leaped on it and I tried to pry its mouth open," Lockhart says. She fish-hooked the cougar's jaw, but feeling that wouldn't be enough, "I started praying in tongues," she says. Mission accomplished: "Three sentences into me praying, [the cougar] released and it ran away." Zachery suffered cuts to his head, neck, and arms, but is "well on his way to being fully recovered," says Lockhart, who credits a miracle.
Two juvenile cougars found 20 yards from the Lake Cowichan property were later euthanized, per ABC News. "It was as simple as just an opportunistic thing and a bit of desperation on their part," a conservation officer tells CTV, noting the male animals, thought to be siblings, were likely starving. Lockhart says the attacking cougar had first opened its jaws while watching Zachery, who was playing in the family's backyard, from behind a wire fence. The boy "knew he was in danger, so he started taking off down this alleyway to get to the house," by which time the cougar had "pushed its way through" the fence, Lockhart says. Running was the wrong move, per Wild Safe BC. In case of a cougar sighting, "never run or turn your back—sudden movements may provoke an attack." (A runner recently killed a cougar.)