The victim of a fatal grizzly bear attack in western Montana has been identified as 65-year-old Leah Davis Lokan of Chico, California. The attack within the confines of the small agricultural town of Ovando has traumatized friends and community members alike.
On Wednesday, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks expanded upon the horrifying details of the attack.
“The bear initially woke the campers but then ran away,” Wednesday’s FWP news release states. “The three campers removed food from their tents, secured it, and went back to bed.”
But the bear was only deterred briefly. A few hours later, it returned, and its image was captured by a surveillance camera less than a block away from the attack site.
At some point during the night, the bear also got into a chicken coop in town, killing and eating several chickens. The bear’s image was recorded by a video camera at a business less than a block from the campsite, just 15 minutes before the attack.
Details of the attack:Grizzly bear attacks, kills camper in western Montana
“At about 3:30 a.m. the two people in the tent adjacent to the victim were awakened by sounds of the attack,” the FWP news release states. “They exited the tent and sprayed the bear with bear spray. It has not been seen since.
“The bear pulled the victim from the tent during the fatal attack.”
Since Tuesday, Montana wildlife and law enforcement officials have been scouring the area, trying to locate the bear responsible for the fatal attack.
“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, FWP regional supervisor in Missoula.
“The area that we’re dealing with in Ovando presents challenges, both terrain-wise and for brush cover,” Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said. “There’s frankly a lot of places where a bear could hide.”
A specialized search and rescue team with the private company “Two Bear Air” has been brought in to help with the search. Roselles said Two Bear Air is employing “flare technology” in an effort to find the grizzly. Forensic analysis collected at the attack site is also being utilized.
“It’s my understanding that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in conjunction with the medical examiner is being very diligent in collecting DNA samples,” Roselles said. “Those samples will be analyzed to help identify the particular bear that was involved.”
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