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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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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8 comments

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wtjs | 2 years ago
2 likes

I can claim personal knowledge of bear problems. When on the High Sierra Route (note, not the namby-pamby Pacific Crest Trail) in Yosemite backcountry I had my provisions in a rucksack tied to a cord over a high branch. I woke in the morning to find a bear had gone along the branch and retrieved the sack which was being ripped up. I tried the approved shouting and banging pans method, which it ignored- so then I threw stones and one of them happened to hit the bear on the snout. It dropped the sack and came haring down the tree trunk- I ran away in terror, but the bear ran off. It had eaten some fruit loaf and half an orange, but I got away with it lightly. That was only a brown bear though- there were no grizzlies in California. The story was that they just kill you, with no messing around.

Avatar
Dingaling | 2 years ago
0 likes

So people from California store food in their tent in bear country? How stupid can people be? There are warnings in outdoor places in, for example Yosemite, Ca. showing pictures of car doors bent back by bears to get at food inside. It is an absolute no no. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Dingaling | 2 years ago
1 like
Dingaling wrote:

So people from California store food in their tent in bear country? How stupid can people be? There are warnings in outdoor places in, for example Yosemite, Ca. showing pictures of car doors bent back by bears to get at food inside. It is an absolute no no. 

Some bears have figured out how to open the car doors properly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bCf-1qYjvE

Avatar
RoubaixCube replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
Dingaling wrote:

So people from California store food in their tent in bear country? How stupid can people be? There are warnings in outdoor places in, for example Yosemite, Ca. showing pictures of car doors bent back by bears to get at food inside. It is an absolute no no. 

Some bears have figured out how to open the car doors properly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bCf-1qYjvE

Some bears have also figured out the perfect F1 Pitstop

https://youtu.be/8DU_fjgRDgs

Avatar
0-0 | 2 years ago
1 like

Most importantly RIP Leah Davis Lokan.

If the incident had happened in the UK.
A judge would have given the bear a suspended sentence.

Avatar
Rik Mayals unde... | 2 years ago
3 likes

That is so sad. The bear is only doing what is natural to it, we are the ones intruding in it's territory. Why not shoot the bear with a dart, and move it on?

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 2 years ago
0 likes
biker phil wrote:

That is so sad. The bear is only doing what is natural to it, we are the ones intruding in it's territory. Why not shoot the bear with a dart, and move it on?

I believe some jurisdictions take this kind of view, including some further north that have interactions with polars, which are far more dangerous than grizzlies.

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
0 likes

....A bit like the American justice system...the Police shot something brown and believe they got the right one! 

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