Wildlife authorities reported Wednesday that a grizzly bear dragged a lady from her tent in a tiny Montana town in the middle of the night and mauled her before neighboring campers could use bear spray to chase the bruin away.
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks authorities who gave further, Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, was on a long-distance bicycle tour when she was slain early Tuesday near the western Montana town of Ovando details about the incident.
Officials say Lokan was murdered on the bear's second visit to where she and two other bikers were sleeping near the post office.
Waking the Campers Up
The 400-pound (181-kilogram) bear initially awoke the campers about 3 a.m., according to officials. Then, they stated they got food from their tents, secured it, and went back to sleep.
Wildlife authorities say surveillance video from a local business showed the bear approximately a block from the post office about 15 minutes later.
Alerting the Authority
Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said the sheriff's office got a 911 call about 4:15 a.m. after two persons in a tent near the victims were woken by the attack's noises. When they used their bear spray, the animal bolted.
That same night, the bear is thought to have broken into a chicken coop in town, killing and devouring many hens.
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Finding the Grizzly
Officials looked for the grizzly again by air on Wednesday but were unable to locate it.
"At this time, culvert traps put near the chicken coop where the bear murdered and ate numerous chickens will be our greatest hope of trapping this bear," said Randy Arnold, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional supervisor in Missoula.
According to Greg Lemon, a Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson, if the bear is discovered, it will be killed.
According to the agency, investigators have acquired DNA from the bear at the scene of the incident and can match it to any bruin they can capture.
Lokan, a licensed nurse who worked at a Chico hospital, had been looking forward to the Montana bike ride for months, according to Mary Flowers, a Chico acquaintance of the victim. According to Flowers, Lokan has previously completed long-distance bike excursions and was accompanied on this one by her sister and a friend.
"She was a sucker for these kinds of experiences. Flowers stated, "A woman in her 60s doing this type of thing - she had a zest for life that was out of the usual."
Grizzly bears have increased their confrontation with humans in the Northern Rockies over the last decade. The federally protected creatures have spread into new regions and the number of people living, and recreation in the area has increased. As a result, lawmakers in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho have called for the restrictions on the animals to be lifted to be hunted.
Ovando, 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Helena, is a little town of fewer than 100 inhabitants on the outskirts of the vast Bob Marshall wilderness.
A vast area of woods and mountains lies north of Ovando, including Glacier National Park, which reaches all the way to Canada and is home to an estimated 1,000 grizzlies. It has the most bruin population in the contiguous United States.
In the region, fatal assaults are uncommon. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, there have been three maulings in the previous 20 years, including Tuesdays.
A hunter was murdered by a grizzly bear with two cubs in a wildlife management area west of Ovando in 2001 while gutting an elk. Wildlife officers shot and killed the three creatures a few days later.
Grizzly Related Deaths
Eight humans have been killed by grizzlies from a distinct population of around 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park in the last 20 years. In April, a backcountry guide was murdered while fishing near the park's boundary in southern Montana by a grizzly bear.
If the mauling was the result of an unexpected meeting or the bear was defending its young, bears are not usually killed. Because of the circumstances of Lokan's death, the bear implicated in his murder is deemed a public safety hazard, according to Lemon.
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