HELENA Mont. — The Powell County sheriff said a grizzly bear attacked and killed a person who was camping in western Montana early Tuesday. The animal had previously wandered into the campground.
According to Greg Lemon, a spokeswoman for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, the incident occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the vicinity of Ovando, a community of less than 100 people approximately 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Helena.
Sheriff Gavin Roselles said, “There was a previous interaction with the bear prior to the occurrence.” “Basically, the bear returned to the campground. It found its way inside a campground a number of times.”
Officials said a team of law enforcement and wildlife experts has been organized to track down the bear.
According to the first account, the victim was riding a bicycle when he was attacked. Roselles stated that this is not the case.
The well-being of the community is our first priority. The next step is to locate the bear, according to Lemon.
Officials did not specify the location of the incident, but Roselles stated that there were other people camped in the area.
According to Lemon, the victim was part of a group of people on a cycling ride.
The inhabitants of Ovando, according to Leigh Ann Valiton, who runs the Blackfoot Inn and a local shop, were “totally heartbroken” by the tragic incident.
As the federally protected creatures spread into new regions and the number of people living and recreation in the region rises, grizzly bears have been coming into more confrontations with humans in the Northern Rockies.
While fishing near the Yellowstone National Park boundary in southern Montana, a backcountry guide was murdered by a grizzly bear in April.
Ovando is located on the southern end of a vast wilderness that runs all the way to the Canadian border and is home to an estimated 1,000 bears, making it one of the biggest bear populations in the contiguous United States. Glacier National Park is part of the region.
If grizzly bears implicated in human attacks are deemed a continuing public safety concern, they are killed. In the case of unexpected confrontations or while protecting their young, bears involved in non-fatal assaults are frequently spared.
From the Pacific Ocean to the Great Plains, an estimated 50,000 grizzlies formerly roamed western North America. By the early 1900s, most had been killed off by hunting, commercial trapping, and habitat degradation.
Since 1975, grizzly bears in the continental United States have been protected as a threatened species, allowing for a gradual comeback in a few places.