Wildlife officials are left stunned after an especially abnormal bear attack that happened on the morning of Tuesday, July 6.
Leah Davis Lokan was sleeping in a tent while in Ovando, Montana. The 65-year-old was on a long-distance cycling trip when she stopped in the small town in Montana for a break. She’s originally from Chico, California.
Woman Killed in Bear Attack
According to the Associated Press, the bear was a massive 400-pound grizzly bear that had actually been spotted in the small town earlier that night. At about 3 a.m. it was near the post office.
Lokan was asleep in her tent when the bear came for an unexpected visit. She had two others with her on the trip and they were asleep in a tent right next to her. They were her sister and another friend. The group was taking on part of the epic Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which is about 2,500 miles. The small town typically attracts thousands taking on the bike route, which loosely follows the Continental Divide.
“The bear initially woke the campers but then ran away … the three campers removed food from their tents, secured it, and went back to bed,” the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park said in an official statement.
However, the predator was quick to circle back and return. At 3:30 a.m. the two campers with Lokan had been suddenly woken up from the sounds of the gruesome attack right next to them. The two quickly ran out of the tent to see what was going on. They sprayed the bear with the bear spray they had packed, but it was too late. The bear had actually pulled the victim out of the tent.
Plans After the Attack
The bear had also killed several chickens that night. They are going to set up traps near these chicken coops in the hopes of capturing the bear. When the 400-pound beast is possibly captured, wildlife officials have already made it clear the bear will be killed. The reasoning? The bear seems to be exhibiting unusual behavior not typical of other bears in the area.
“This isn’t normal bear behavior, and it’s the kind we want to address right away. Most of the time when we have grizzly-human encounters that result in injury, most of the time the bear is doing normal bear stuff — protecting food resources, protecting cubs or a surprise encounter. This doesn’t really apply in this situation, where somebody was camping at night,” the FWP Montana Department spokesperson Greg Lemon previously told The Independent Record.
The town sheriff closed the informal campsites down near where the attack happened until Sunday. A church and fire station are open for cyclists to sleep inside instead.
The people in her life had exceptionally high praise for her larger-than-life, outdoor-spirited personality. “She was talking about her summer plans — this wonderful wild adventure, riding her bike on, I don’t know, a 400-mile trip or something. A woman in her 60s, and she’s doing this kind of stuff — she had a passion for life that was out of the ordinary,” Mary Flowers, the friend accompanying Loken on the trip, said to AP News.
As more people get outside this summer, more bear and wildlife-related attacks have been consistently popping up in the news.