A grizzly bear pulled a woman from her tent in a small Montana town in the middle of the night and killed her before fellow campers could use bear spray to force the bruin out of the area, wildlife officials said Wednesday.
Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, was on a long-distance bicycling trip and had stopped in the western Montana town of Ovando when she was killed early Tuesday, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials as they provided more details about the attack.
Lokan was killed on the bear’s second visit to the site where she and two fellow bicyclists were camping near the post office, officials said. The approximately 400-pound (181-kilogram) grizzly first awakened the campers about 3 a.m., officials said. They took food out of their tents, secured it and went back to sleep, they said.
Surveillance video from a business in town showed the bear about a block 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, Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said. 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.
Officials searched by helicopter for the grizzly again Wednesday but couldn’t find it.
“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.
The bear will be killed if it is found, said Greg Lemon, a spokesperson for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.