Bear attack: rangers shoot killer grizzly in night vision ambush

A grizzly bear that pulled a California woman from her tent and killed her has been fatally shot by wildlife officials, who used night-vision goggles to stake out a chicken coop it had also raided near the small Montana town of Ovando.

They shot the bear shortly after midnight on Friday when it approached a trap set near the coop about two miles from Ovando where 65-year-old Leah Davis Lokan of Chico, California, was killed on Tuesday, said Greg Lemon with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Lokan, a nurse, was on a mountain biking trip. She and two companions were camping behind the Ovando post office when she was attacked.

The estimated 400-pound (181kg) bear awakened Lokan and her companions in a nearby tent about 3am on Tuesday, officials said. After the bear ran away, the campers removed food from their tents, secured it and went back to sleep, Montana wildlife officials said.

About 15 minutes later the bear was seen on a video camera at a business about a block away from the post office, wildlife officials said. About 4.15am the sheriff’s office received a 911 call after two people in a tent near the victim’s were awakened by sounds of the attack, Roselles said. They used bear spray, and the animal ran away.

The bear is also believed to have entered a chicken coop in town that night, killing and eating several chickens. Authorities hunted it over three days, using helicopters and searchers on the ground and setting out five large traps made from steel culverts and baited with roadkill. “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,” Lemon said.

Bears that attack people are not always killed if the mauling resulted from a surprise encounter or the bear was defending its young. But the bear involved in Lokan’s death was considered a public safety threat.