Woman says 'mom instinct' took over when she fought off cougar attacking son

Chelsea Lockhart said she rushed outside and found him fighting for his life.
Posted at 7:26 AM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 08:26:42-04

A Canadian woman said her "mom instinct" took over last week when she fought off a cougar that mauled her 7-year-old son in their backyard.

Chelsea Lockhart was doing household chores on Friday afternoon when she heard her son, Zachery, scuffling with something outside their home in Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island. She said she rushed to the backyard to look for the source of the commotion and found the boy fighting for his life.

"I ran downstairs and I ran toward his voice. I turned the corner and saw this animal on my child," she told CTV on Tuesday. "He was on the ground and the cougar was attached to his arm. I had a mom instinct, right? I just leaped on it and I tried to pry its mouth open."

She said she doesn't know where she gained the strength, but she fish-hooked the juvenile cougar by the mouth and managed to pry him off.

"I looked at him and I just thought, 'Oh my god, my kid could die right before my eyes.' All you think is, 'What can you do? What can you do in your own physical strength?'" she recalled. "I’m so grateful for him to be alive."

She said it's a miracle that Zachery survived the attack with only a gash on his head and a few injuries cuts his neck and arms.

"I knew that in my own power and in my own strength I wasn't going to be able to pry its mouth open, so I started praying in tongues. I'm just crying out to the Lord," she said. "Three sentences into me praying, it released and it ran away."

Zachery is expected to make a full recovery, his mom said. He was at resting up at his grandma's house on Monday.

"We are definitely well on our way to recovery and Zach is resting at his grandma's house, having some one-on-one time there," Lockhart said. "His stitches are healing; he is well on his way to being fully recovered."

Officials with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service said they found two cougars, both juvenile males, about 20 yards away from the family's home. They were both hungry and looking for food, according to the service.

Scott Norris, sergeant with British Columbia Conservation Officer Service, said the animals were euthanized after the attack.

"The mom looked out from her deck and saw the cougar on top of him, and sprang into action," Norris told ABC News on Tuesday. "She grabbed the cougar and yanked it off her child."

Vancouver Island has had several cougar attacks over the past few years, but "it’s a rare occurrence," he said.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds and Kieran McGirl contributed to this report.