A 60-year-old British Columbia woman was rescued from a savage cougar attack when her boyfriend charged the animal in her defense. In what’s being cited as the first case in North America of a spear being used to kill a cougar in self-defense, the Flores Island resident came to the aid of his girlfriend, who was being mauled in her own garden.

The defender’s weapon of choice was likely a matter of grabbing the nearest handy item. Reports suggest that the spear was intended for boar hunting. The man stabbed the mountain lion several times before the animal retreated. While the woman sustained severe injuries, including deep puncture wounds and a crushed skull, she is expected to recover. Her savior is being hailed as a hero.

286_trailcog_attacsThe cougar was found dead by conservation officers hours later, having been fatally wounded by the man’s spear. The same cat had been seen by the man in the months prior to the attack; he described the animal’s actions as becoming increasingly bold.

Island resident Bill Dennis, who was working Monday at the Ahousat General Store, said he believes the same cougar responsible for Sunday’s attack chased him and a friend June 19 after it swam across a channel to a float near the store.

“Me and another guy saw what we thought was a wolf or a dog in the bay and we went to check it out. I got within 100 feet of the float and it jumped out of the water like a fish and I thought ‘Holy crap, that’s a cougar.’ ”

In a phone interview, Dennis said the cougar challenged his friend on a ramp and then came toward him.

“It chased me up the other ramp and I didn’t bother turning back. I ran as fast as I could to the top. It was pretty spooky.”

Dennis said the cougar then turned away from him and went after his colleague again. “With everyone yelling and screaming, it went back toward the other fellow. It wasn’t backing off. But it just went right by him into the bush.

“I would think it’s the same cat because they saw it again a month later swim back across after supposedly stalking a schoolteacher. It was also bothering a tourist on Wildside Trail. Now, this last incident.”

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Photos: ABC News (top), PBS (above)