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DNA confirms Ovando killer griz

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | July 21, 2021 6:10 AM

DNA results received last week confirmed the bear killed by wildlife officials recently was the same bear who fatally attacked Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, in Ovando early on the morning of July 6, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.

The DNA samples from the bear, saliva sample at the scene of the attack and samples from two chicken coops that were raided in the area all match up.

The bear dragged Lokan from her tent, where she was camped near the Ovando Post Office.

The bear had awakened the woman and two others who were camping near the post office about 3 a.m. July 5, officials said. The bear then ran away.

The campers removed food from their tents, secured it and went back to sleep, FWP said.

The approximately 400-pound (181 kilogram) bear was seen by a video camera at a business about a block away from the post office about 15 minutes later, wildlife officials said.

About 4:15 a.m., 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.

They discharged their bear spray, and the bear ran away.

The bear is also believed to have entered a chicken coop in town that night, killing and eating several chickens.

FWP reminds visitors that Montana is bear country and recreationists can be bear aware by following some simple guidelines:

• Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it

• Avoid surprise encounters by traveling in groups, making noise and being aware of surroundings, particularly in areas with limited sight lines and recent bear sign (tracks, scat and turned over rocks and logs)

• Keeping a clean camp by securing attractants, keeping food securely stored

Find a list of bear-resistant containers on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s website www.IGBCOnline.org