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Grizzly bear that killed bikepacking cyclist in Montana shot dead

Victim Leah Davis Lokan from California was on a mountain biking trip with two friends

A grizzly ​bear that is believed to be the one that earlier this week killed a bikepacking cyclist in Montana has been shot dead.

The victim, named as Leah Davis Lokan, a 65-year-old nurse from Chico, California, was dragged from her tent and mauled to death during the attack in the small town of Ovando in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

> Bikepacking cyclist killed by grizzly bear on campsite in Montana

A three-day search which included using a helicopter to try and spot the animal and traps with roadkill as bait, reports the Mirror.

One of those traps was close to a chicken coop that the bear had raided earlier in the week, which the animal returned to shortly after midnight today, with wildlife officials using night vision goggles to spot it.

Greg Lemon of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said: “Based on the size of the bear, the colour of the bear and the nature of the chicken coop raids, we’re confident we’ve got the offending bear.”

Lokan had been on a mountain biking trip with two friends, the party camping behind the post office in Ovanda on Monday evening.

“She had a really good spirit,” said Chico Cycling Team president Mike Castaldo, who had known her for around 15 years.

“But I think most of her identity was, you know, outside on the bike, enjoying the outdoors was her thing.”

Prior to the fatal attack Lokan and her friends, who were in a separate tent, were awoken when they heard the bear. Once it ran away, they removed food from their tents and went back to sleep.

The bear was spotted around 15 minutes later on a nearby CCTV camera, then returned to the campsite.

The sheriff’s office was alerted at around 0415 on Tuesday by a couple in a nearby tent who had been woken up by the fatal attack. They used bear spray to drive the animal away.

Campsites in Ovanda, which is home to around 75 people, are currently closed while investigators compare DNA evidence from the scene of the attack with that from the animal that was shot and killed.

According to US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Joe Szuszwalak, 11 people have been killed in bear attacks in the Continental Divide and Glacier National Park region during the past 50 years.

The most recent fatal attack in the area, which is home to the largest concentration of bears in the lower 48 states, was in 2016 when an off-duty US Forest Service official riding a mountain bike was mauled to death after colliding with a grizzly bear.

We’ve reported on a number of cases of cyclists having run-ins with grizzly bears over the years, including a Canadian woman who said that she had to put in “a once-in-a-lifetime sprint” to get away from one of the animals as it pursued her in the Yukon in 2019.

Two years earlier in Alberta, Canada, a heavily laden touring cyclist was unaware that he was being stalked by a grizzly bear as he rode slowly uphill until a pick-up truck driver alerted him to the danger and, with the help of another motorist, managed to help the rider to safety.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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