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California woman dragged from tent and killed by bear

Saturday, July 10th 2021, 1:42 pm - Wildlife officers shot and killed a bear in a separate incident some days later, and will use DNA to determine if it was the same animal.

A woman from California was killed during a camping trip on Tuesday by a grizzly bear, which dragged her from her tent.

The woman, 65-year-old Leah Lokan of Chico, California, was on a cycling and camping trip in Montana, and the attack happened while she was camped with several other people near the town of Ovando. The other campers were woken by the incident and drove the animal off using bear spray.

On Friday, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said a grizzly had been shot while raiding a chicken coop around three kilometres away from the fatal attack. A similar raid had happened the night Lokan was killed, and again on Wednesday, so officers set a trap in the hopes of luring the bear.

"Given the proximity to Tuesday’s attack, the evidence found at the scenes and the fact another chicken coop was raided, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials believe this is the same bear but confirming DNA analysis will take a few days," the agency said in a release Friday.

The Powell County Sheriff's Office said the bear had initially approached the campsite site attracted by food, before being driven off and returning later for the second, fatal encounter. Powell County Coroner Heather Gregory warned people to be mindful of the wildlife while camping.

"It was a terrible tragedy," Gregory told CNN. "I'm just hoping that people start being more cautious. This is Montana, and this is bear country."

For a full guide to avoiding bears while hiking, keeping them away from your campsite, and what to do if you encounter one, click here.


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