Woman Is Killed in Montana Bear Attack

click to enlarge Woman Is Killed in Montana Bear Attack
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via The New York Times
An undated photo provided by Montana Fish, WIldlife and Parks shows a grizzly bear in the northwestern part of the state. A bear fatally attacked a camper in western Montana on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, the latest in a handful of serious incidents between humans and bears in the state.

By Anna Schaverien
The New York Times

The authorities in western Montana were searching for a bear that killed a woman who was camping on Tuesday, the latest in a handful of bear attacks in the state.

Sheriff Gavin Roselles of Powell County told KGVO News that authorities were called to a site near Ovando, about 75 miles northwest of the state capital, Helena, after the early morning attack.

While Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the attack involved a grizzly bear, a type of bear that is common in the area, Roselles said it was not confirmed.

“At this time we haven’t specifically identified that this incident involved a grizzly bear,” he told KGVO News. “We just know that it’s a bear that was involved in it.”

Both the sheriff’s office and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were searching for the bear, closing off the area surrounding Ovando to campers. Authorities did not identify the victim, pending the notification of family.

Tuesday’s attack was the latest of several bear attacks in Montana. In April, a backcountry guide, Charles Mock, died from injuries after he was mauled by a grizzly bear near a campground outside West Yellowstone. A male bear was shot and killed when it charged at workers investigating the attack.

Last July, a Montana man was seriously injured by a grizzly bear, and in September, a mother grizzly bear with cubs attacked a man. He called 911 and was later taken to a hospital.

After the fatal attack in April, Morgan Jacobsen, the spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said more encounters between humans and grizzly bears were likely, as humans pushed farther into the habitat of a growing bear population.

Fatal bear attacks are relatively rare; since Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, eight people have been killed by bears in the park, which extends over parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Since 1975, the Endangered Species Act has protected grizzly bears as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, meaning it is illegal to harm or kill the animals, except in cases of self-defense or the defense of others.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.