Montana grizzly bear shot and killed after fatal attack on Leah Lokan Davis, Chico, Calfornia camper. DNA tests to prove whether the animal was the one that mauled cyclist enthusiast.
A grizzly bear that dragged a 65 year old long-distance cyclist enthusiast from an Ovando tent in Montana and fatally mauled her was shot dead Friday — after wreaking havoc at a nearby home, officials said.
The 400-pound bruin that killed Leah Davis Lokan of Chico, California was gunned down by federal wildlife workers, who lured it to a chicken coop just after midnight, Greg Lemon of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said at a press conference.
‘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,’ Lemon said, according to CBS.
The grizzly who ate several chickens the day after fatally attacking Lokan — likely ripped the door off a home in the Ovando area Thursday night, leaving behind massive claw marks, Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said in a Facebook post.
Another member of her group heard noises, and ran out of his tent to spray the bear — to no avail, officials said.
Officials to match DNA from mauling site to that of grizzly put down
The animal had entered the camp earlier in the night, prompting the cyclists to remove food from their tents and fall back asleep.
Officials had set a baited trap nearby hoping to lure the animal back to the area before luring it into an enclosed area.
Investigators initially launched a helicopter hunt to find the bear and collected animal DNA from the scene of Lokan’s attack.
They now plan to compare the grizzly DNA to the dead bear’s genetic makeup to confirm it’s the same animal. Officials expect to get back results within three days.
Bear tracks found at the site of the mauling matched those found near the trap officials set Friday morning, Lemon said.
At the time of the mauling, Lokan and two others were camping when a bear startled them at 3 a.m. Tuesday before wandering off, Montana wildlife officials said. The bicyclists removed food from their tents, stored it and went back to sleep, 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. It was then that it was discovered that Lokan had been a victim of the grizzly.
Cycling enthusiast knew the risks she was taking
Lokan, a registered nurse, had been on a 400-mile bike adventure along with the two other campers when they set up a tent near a post office in the tiny town, outside of Helena, only for the nurse to be fatally attacked.
Friends said Lokan was a free spirit, competitive and adventuresome and had been aware of the dangers she faced on the trip.
‘She knew the dangers,’ Mike Castaldo, president of the Chico Cycling Club told CBSNews, suggesting Lokan may have let her guard down while camping in a town, rather than along the trail.
Lokan had been looking forward to the Montana bike trip that claimed her life for months, Castaldo added. The long bike ride had been undertaken in the Ovando wilderness, where grizzlies are well known to inhabit in their natural habitat.
Ovando, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Helena, is a community of fewer than 100 people at the edge of the sprawling Bob Marshall wilderness.
An adult grizzly male which populate the area typically weigh between 400 to 790 pounds, while adult females weigh approximately 290 to 400 pounds.
Fatal attacks are rare in the region. There have been three in the last 20 years, including Tuesday’s mauling, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.