WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Two children, including a one-year-old, were attacked by a bear in Wright Township, according to officials.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Communication Director Travis Lau confirms with Eyewitness News two children, ages 14 months and 5 years old, were attacked by a bear near Walden Park Monday.

Investigators say there are few details about the incident or what might have provoked the attack, which occurred while the children were playing in the driveway of their home. Both children were treated for bites and scratches and were released from Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Lau stated bear traps have been set in an attempt to capture a bear and conduct testing to determine if the bear, when trapped, is the one that attacked the children. 

Lau notes bear attacks are very unusual in Pennsylvania, he believes for this incident the bear was triggered by some unknown circumstance. But if the bear involved in the attack is caught, it will be euthanized as a precaution.

When attacks do occur, Lau states 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.

Officials advise Pennsylvanians to keep their distance from bears at all times since they are strong and fast creatures.

Pennsylvania Game Commission offers the following tips if you ever encounter a bear:

  • Let the bear know you’re there
    • Getting a bear’s attention by vocalizing or waving at it, often is enough to make it move off.
  • Bears sometimes stand their ground
    • They might employ more aggressive measures, like popping their jaws or bluffing a charge at a person, stopping short. But even in these types of cases, a bear usually will give a person the chance to back out of an encounter
  • Bears have a natural fear of people
    • But they can lose some of that fear when living close to people, especially if they’re fed
    • For this reason, it is unlawful in Pennsylvania to intentionally feed bears.
  • Those who live in “bear country” might consider removing potential food sources
    • 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.
    • Remove food from places where bears might get them, and where bears have been a problem recently, such items definitely should be removed

“This is an unfortunate incident and I’m relieved to hear their injuries aren’t severe,” stated Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans.

For more information about living safely and responsibly with bears, visit bearwise.org.