One person was killed in a grizzly bear attack near Ovando, Montana, east of Missoula earlier this month. According to law enforcement with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, or FWP Human Attack Response Team, the person was killed in the early hours last Tuesday morning.
The identity of the victim remains unconfirmed and unreleased. Authorities say the person was traveling with a larger group of cyclists and was camping for the night.
The Response Team and representatives from the Powell County Sheriff’s Office are still investigating the incident. The FWP reports that grizzly bears are common in the Blackfoot Valley, where Ovando is located.
In addition, game wardens and parks department staff are on the lookout for the bear suspected in the fatal attack. According to FWP spokesman Greg Lemon, there’s evidence that the bear was in the area the night before.
“We had some video camera footage from a local business in town of a grizzly bear walking through town on Monday night, also there was a grizzly bear that got into a chicken coop Monday night and then this incident, so we believe it’s all the same grizzly bear.”
But the investigators say they have not seen any signs of the bear in the area since the attack. The nearby town of Ovando was blocked to traffic and shut down temporarily following the attack.
Authorities say they will release more information when it becomes available.
The FWP is asking residents and visitors to be careful this year around bears. Due to recent drought conditions, bear are seeking out alternate food sources and encroaching on human habitations.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials trapped and euthanized a young female black just two weeks ago after it broke into a home looking for food.
“FWP bear specialists expect the lack of spring moisture could affect berry crops, leading both black and grizzly bears to seek out easy food sources near homes,” said the FWP. “If those bears find nothing to eat around homes and businesses, they will move elsewhere.”
The victim has been identified as Leah Lokan, 65, of Chico, California. Authorities also believe they terminated the bear responsible, a 400-pound boar. But DNA tests are being conducted to confirm the assumption.