Woman who scared off a grizzly bear on a Montana camping trip was killed when it returned later and attacked her in her sleep, investigation finds

·2 min read
grizzly bear
A remote camera captured an image of a grizzly bear in Ovando, Montana.Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
  • Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was killed by a grizzly bear while camping in Ovando, Montana, last year.

  • An investigation found that Lokan scared off the bear an hour before it came back and killed her.

  • The report said Lokan declined an offer to stay in a hotel after she chased away the bear.

A woman was killed during a camping trip in Montana last year when a bear she'd scared off earlier returned and attacked her in her sleep, an investigation by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee found.

Leah Davis Lokan, a 65-year-old cyclist and retired nurse from California, was killed by the bear in Ovando, Montana, in the early hours of July 6, 2021.

The 26-page report, which was published in late June, found that Lokan had chased away the bear one hour before it returned and killed her in her tent.

The report said Lokan, who was traveling with her sister, was sleeping alone in her tent behind a museum when the attack happened.

Her sister was staying in a nearby hotel, but Lokan had set up her tent next to a couple named Joe and Kim Cole, the report said.

It said that at approximately 3 a.m., Lokan woke up when a 417-pound bear "huffed" at her head from outside her tent. She alerted the Coles, who helped her scare the bear off by making loud noises, the report said.

Lokan moved food out of her tent and armed herself with a can of bear spray, the report said.

The Coles then asked her if she wanted to stay in a hotel room for the night, but she declined the offer and went back to sleep, the report said.

grizzly bear
A grizzly bear in Ovando, Montana, on July 6, 2021.Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

The report said that at around 4 a.m., the Coles were awoken by a noise that sounded like Lokan was being attacked, though she was not making noise.

They told officials they saw the dark shape of the bear "pouncing up and down" on Lokan and her tent as Joe tried to scare it away, the report said.

The report said an autopsy found that the bear had broken Lokan's neck and severed her spine and that she was killed instantly. The bear did not attack anyone else, and it ran away, the report said.

It said DNA tests confirmed that the same grizzly bear also raided a chicken coop hours after the attack. The bear, which was four to seven years old, was killed by officials several days later, the report said.

The report also included an image captured by a remote camera showing a bear that officials believe to be the one that attacked Lokan.

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