Grizzly bear shot dead after dragging woman from tent and mauling her to death
A grizzly bear that dragged a woman from her tent and killed her has been shot dead in Montana.
Leah Davis Lokan, a nurse from California, was on a mountain biking trip with two friends when the bear attacked their camp in Ovando in the early hours of Tuesday.
The 400lb bear is also understood to have raided a chicken coop, killing and eating several chickens.
Authorities hunted for the animal for three days, using helicopters and search crews on the ground as well as setting out five large traps baited with roadkill in an effort to attract the bear, according to local media reports.
The bear was shot yesterday (Friday, June 9) by wildlife officials, who used night vision goggles to stake out a chicken coop that the bear raided near the small Montana town.
The bear was shot shortly after midnight when it approached a trap set near the coop about two miles from Ovando, where Ms Lokan, 65, was killed earlier this week.
The bear had raided the chicken coop overnight Wednesday, and officials set a baited trap nearby hoping to lure the animal back, said Greg Lemon with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
“Based on the size of the bear, the color of the bear and the nature of the chicken coop raids, we’re confident we’ve got the offending bear,” said Mr Lemon.
He added tracks found at the site of the coop also matched tracks found in Ovando.
Lokan was an experienced outdoors woman and cyclist who was on a much-anticipated mountain biking trip. She and two companions were camped behind the Ovando post office early Tuesday when she was attacked.
Friends described Lokan as a free spirit and competitive, and said she was aware of the dangers she faced on the trip.
“She had a really good spirit. She always had a smile on her face. Always lit up when she saw you. Always gave you a big hug,” said Mike Castaldo, president of the Chico Cycling Team, who knew Lokan for about 15 years.
“But I think most of her identity was, you know, outside on the bike, enjoying the outdoors was her thing.”
The estimated 400lb bear awakened Lokan and her companions in an adjacent tent at about 3am on Tuesday, officials said. After the bear ran away, the campers removed food from their tents, secured it and went back to sleep, Montana wildlife officials have said.
The bear was seen by a video camera at a business about a block away from the post office about 15 minutes later, wildlife officials said.
About 4:15 a.m., the sheriff’s office received a 911 call after two people in a tent near the victim’s were awakened by sounds of the attack. They discharged their bear spray, and the bear ran away.
The bear is also believed to have entered a chicken coop in town that night, killing and eating several chickens.
The town along the banks of the Blackfoot River has fewer than 100 people and borders a huge expanse of forested lands that stretches to the Canada border. The region is home to an estimated 1,000 grizzlies.
Investigators gathered DNA evidence from the scene of Lokan’s death and will compare it to samples gathered from the dead grizzly bear. Until then, the county sheriff said he would maintain a closure on outdoor campsites in Ovando.