On Monday, two young children were attacked by a black bear while they were playing in the driveway of their eastern Pennsylvania home, state officials shared Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission shared that the two children, who are 5 years old and 14 months old, sustained non-life-threatening injuries from Monday’s attack.
A press release from the commission shared that the kids suffered “bites and/or scratches” and were treated at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
The agency is investigating the attack to determine if the children did anything to provoke the bear before it began attacking them.
“This is an unfortunate incident and I’m relieved to hear their injuries aren’t severe,” Bryan Burhans, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said in a statement.
Authorities have not yet caught the bear responsible for the attack, though two traps have been set up in the area as part of the commission’s attempts to catch it.
Once caught, the bear will be DNA tested so authorities can identify it as the animal involved. If given a positive match, the commission will euthanize the bear as a precaution.
“In general, Pennsylvania’s bears avoid contact with people and attacks are rare,” the game commission said. “When attacks do occur, it often involves a situation where a bear is cornered and not given an opportunity to flee, or is triggered by a dog confronting a bear, and the dog’s owner becoming involved.”
According to the commission, there are upwards of 15,000 black bears living in the state, though the number of reported attacks is few and far between.
The commission said that Monday’s attack was “most likely” triggered by an “unknown circumstance,” as bears are naturally afraid of people.
“Bears have a natural fear of people, but they can lose some of that fear when living close to people, and especially if they’re fed,” the commission shared. “For this reason, it is unlawful in Pennsylvania to intentionally feed bears. But even without intentional feeding, bears can be drawn to properties where they can find an easy meal at a birdfeeder, by raiding compost bins or trash cans, or toppling a charred grill.”
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