The bear killed the victim, Leah Davis Lokan, of Chico, California, instantaneously at 4:08 a.m. on Tuesday, while she was sleeping, Powell County coroner Heather Gregory said.
Initially, the bear had awoken both her and two other campers in another tent, attracted by food before running away, according to a news release from the Powell County Sheriff’s Office. The two other campers were then woken by sounds of the attack and used bear spray, according to the news release.
Lokan was on a cycling trip to Montana with her sister when the attack took place, Gregory said. Her sister was staying at the local inn while Lokan was camping.
“It was a terrible tragedy,” Gregory said. “I’m just hoping that people start being more cautious. This is Montana, and this is bear country.”
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has worked with the sheriff’s office to conduct search efforts and set traps for the bear, but it hasn’t been seen since the attack. Authorities plan to euthanize the bear if it is found, said Greg Lemon, administrator of communications for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Ovando campsites will remain closed until Sunday, according to the news release.
The campsite where Tuesday’s attack took place was in a part of Montana that US Fish and Wildlife Services have sectioned off as a “recovery ecosystem” for grizzly bears, which are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in all areas of Montana.
Source: CNN – US News