A woman camping in Montana who had managed to scare off a grizzly bear that had invaded her campsite was killed when the bear later returned and attacked her in her sleep!
The incident happened last year, but it is only now being reported after a completed investigation by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. 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 recently published, 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 bear 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.
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.
Encounters between humans and bears have been on the increase in recent years. This one was of the few that resulted in the death or injury of the human involved.
Earlier this year, an art teacher from Houston County got the shock of her life after coming face to face with a black bear that had managed to get itself trapped in her car.
Mary Jane Yarbrough, a teacher at Warner Robins High School in Houston County, said she was in disbelief when she saw the animal locked inside her parked car. Unfortunately for her, the bear had rummaged so aggressively that the interiors of her car were in shambles.
Last year, a group of friends filmed the moment when a fully-grown bear made his way through the woods and approached their unattended vehicle, which was parked in the middle of a winding road. A few seconds later, the bear got frisky and managed to pull open the front door of the vehicle.
Also, in 2021 a California teen, Hailey Morinico, made headlines when she warded off a black bear that was attempting to jump her fence and attack her dogs.
While none of these encounters between humans and bears ended in any harm to the bear or the people involved, other cases like Lokan’s were not nearly as lucky.