Leah Davis Lokan Chico, California woman killed by grizzly bear while camping in Ovando Montana. Search for bear continues 2 days after fatal attack.
Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, was pulled from her tent in the early morning hours of Tuesday, circa 3.15 am and killed by the bear, NBC Montana reported.
She had been on a bike trip with others, who were staying overnight in a separate tent, the outlet reported. Lokan, a registered nurse who had worked at a hospital in Chico, had looked forward to the Montana bike trip for months, her friend said.
When another member of her group heard noises, he ran out and sprayed the bear, but was unable to save the woman.
The Powell County Sheriff’s Office said the bear had earlier entered the camp and woke those who were sleeping, only to run away. The campers removed food from their tents, only for the grizzly bear to return 30 minutes later and attack the woman. The bear was chased off with bear spray, but first responders from the Helmville and Ovando fire departments, as well as a life flight helicopter, were unable to revive the woman according to CBS58.
Search for grizzly bear
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said a bear had been spotted by a business in Ovando on surveillance video Monday night, and a bear in the area had also gotten into a chicken coop.
‘Grizzly bears are common in the Blackfoot Valley where Ovando is located,’ the agency said.
The agency said biologists, conflict specialists and game wardens are searching for the bear responsible for the fatal attack.
‘Traps have been set in the area and searching will continue by ground and in the air with the priority of keeping the public safe from another encounter,’ the Powell County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday evening. ‘Campsites in Ovando have been closed until Sunday and we encourage anyone in the area to be cautious and aware that as of now the bear in question has not been located.’
Montana authorities are searching for a grizzly bear after it attacked and killed a woman who was on an overnight camping trip near the rural town of Ovando https://t.co/jvs2VLBYX7
— CNN (@CNN) July 6, 2021
Endangered species attempting to thrive in encroaching human activity
Grizzly bears are common in Ovando, which is nestled in a valley between the Blackfoot River to the south and mountains to the north that stretch into the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness. Adult males typically weigh between 400 to 790 pounds, while adult females weigh approximately 290 to 400 pounds.
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.
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.
In 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the grizzly bear as threatened in the continental United States under the Endangered Species Act, after population numbers dwindled from more than 50,000 to fewer than 1,000 due to habitat loss, hunting and conflicts with humans.
With federal protections still in place that make it illegal to harm, harass, or kill the bears, except in cases of self-defense or the defense of others, grizzlies have flourished in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in northwestern Montana, which includes a designated recovery zone spanning from Glacier National Park to Missoula. The massive area is now home to more than 1,000 grizzly bears, making it the largest population in the country outside Alaska, according to data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March.