Grizzly bear attacks and kills cyclists in Montana
A grizzly bear attacked and killed a cyclist who was camping in a small town in western Montana early Tuesday. The authorities said. The attack sparked an intense search for the bear by wildlife officials and law enforcement officers who planned to kill the animal.
Greg Lemon, a spokesman for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, said the attack occurred before dawn in the city of Ovando of less than 100 people, 60 miles northwest of Helena. The victim has not yet been identified It was reported by NBC Montana The cart was a woman.
Powell County Sheriff Gavin Russell said the bear had previously wandered into the area where the victim was camping and left but later returned.
“There was previous contact with the bear prior to the event,” Russels said. “The bear has basically gone back to the camp site. He walked around the camp site a few different times.”
Officials said a team of law enforcement and wildlife specialists was brought in to track down and kill the bear. A helicopter crew was assisting them while researchers were looking for a “daybed” in which the animal could sleep to get out of the heat, Lemon said, adding that he believed the bear left Ovando after the fall.
Lemon said wildlife workers have set five traps in and around Ovando in hopes of capturing the bear.
An initial report stated that the victim was riding a bicycle at the time of the attack. That’s not the case, said Russells.
Lemon said his understanding was that the victim was part of a group on a bike trip.
The identity of the victim was not immediately revealed, and other circumstances related to the attack are being investigated.
“Our first concern is the welfare of the community,” Lemon said. “The next step is to find the bear.”
Officials did not say exactly where the attack was, but Russell said there were other people camping near the attack.
Wildlife officials said an Ovando video camera captured a grizzly bear on Monday night.
“We had some camcorder footage from a local company in a town of a grizzly bear walking into town on Monday night, and there was also a grizzly bear that went into a chicken coop on Monday night and then this incident, so we think it’s the same,” said Lemon. CBS affiliate KXLH-TV.
This was the first fatal attack of a bear she knew of in the community, said Ovando Salon owner Tiffany Zaffarelli, and it is located along the Blackfoot River down a mountain range that rises into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Outback, an area that covers 1,500 square miles of public forest. Area residents used to live near bears and know the dangers, but the attack left them annoying, said Zaffarelli, whose family owns the Trixi’s Antler Saloon, named after a famous rider and horse rider, whose family owns the Trixi’s Antler Saloon.
“Everyone is in shambles right now,” Zararelli said. “The population here is 75—and everyone knows everyone. As for Montana residents, we know how to be ‘conscious.’ But anything can happen.”
Cyclists gathered at Trixi’s on Tuesday afternoon were considering plans for their next stop.
“I think we’d be fine heading north,” Jim Drake of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told the Missoulian newspaper. Drake was only four or five days short of completing his seven-week journey.
“We carry bear spray and keep our food in a bear-proof bag. Bears are always a threat, but as long as we take precautions, we are not too concerned. I think it is more likely to be hit by a car than to be attacked by a bear.”
The Blackfoot Inn and general store owner, Lee Ann Valleton, said Ovando residents were “totally devastated” by the deadly attack.
Grizzly bears have faced increased conflict with humans in the northern Rockies over the past decade as federally protected animals expanded into new territories and more people lived and recreated in the area. That prompted calls from elected officials in neighboring Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to lift protections so the animals can be hunted.
In April, aWhile hunting along the border of Yellowstone National Park in southwest Montana. The 420-pound bear was killed in that attack when it charged wildlife officials as they approached the attack site.
Ovando is located on the southern edge of a huge expanse of wilderness that extends to the Canadian border and is home to an estimated 1,000 bears – the largest concentrations of bruins in the contiguous United States
The area along the Continental Divide that includes Glacier National Park has seen 11 deadly bear attacks in the past 50 years, including Tuesday’s, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Joe Szuswalak said. Since 2001, 20 bear injuries have been reported requiring the victim to be hospitalized.
The most recent deadly bombing in the Glacier-Continental Divide was in 2016. An off-duty US Forest Service law enforcement officer was attacked and killed after hitting a grizzly while mountain biking in Flathead National Forest.
Grizzly bears involved in attacks on humans can be trapped and killed if they are considered a continuing threat to public safety. Bears involved in non-lethal attacks are often avoided in the event of a sudden encounter or if they are protecting their young.
Wildlife managers have sought to reduce the risk with campaigns that encourage people living near the Grizzlies to install bear-resistant trash cans so the animals don’t come in search of leftover human food. They also educate hunters and hikers on how to travel safely in grizzly country and the importance of carrying bear spray – irritating packages that can be used to deter attacking bruins.
It was not immediately known whether the victim in Tuesday’s attack had been exposed to bear spray or even any chance of using it.
An estimated 50,000 grizzly once inhabited western North America from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Plains. Hunting, commercial hunting and habitat loss were all but eliminated in the early 20th century.
The grizzly and human populations in Montana have risen dramatically since 1975, when bears were protected under the Endangered Species Act, “60 Minutes” reporter. Watch his full report in the video at the top of this page.