On the morning of Tuesday July 6, a 400-pound grizzly bear pulled a Chico woman out of her tent in western Montana and killed her, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was on a long-distance bicycling tripÂ when she stopped for the night in the town of Ovanda. According to wildlife officials, she was pulled from her tent in the night and killed by the grizzly. Video surveillance showed the bear in the area that night but the helicopter search for the bear has been unsuccessful.
The bear entered the campsite near the Ovanda post office with Lokan and two other people around 3 am. The campers promptly removed all the food from their tents and went back to sleep. About an hour later, the bear returned to the site and performed the vicious attack. The two other campers sprayed it with bear spray and it ran off. It had also entered a nearby chicken coop in town, killing and eating several chicken.
“At this point, our best chance for catching this bear will be culvert traps set in the area near the chicken coop where the bear killed and ate several chickens,” said Randy Arnold, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional supervisor in Missoula.
If the bear is located and matched with DNA found at the scene of the attack, it will be euthanized.
Grizzly bears encounters have increased in Montana in recent years, with federal protections and growing outsiders using the region for outdoor recreation. The conflicts have pressured lawmakers to lift protections so the bears can be hunted. Fatal attacks are rare, with Lokan’s tragic incident only the third in 20 years.
In Chico, Lokan was known as a nurse and an avid bicyclist who frequented Chico Area Group rides.