BRANCHVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 12-year-old Jersey City boy and an 11-year-old Brooklyn boy sustained minor injuries after a black bear attacked their campsite in New Jersey early Wednesday morning.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With Campers At The Site
The attack occurred shortly after 5 a.m. in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County. Police said a black bear entered the Glen Anderson area being used by the Montague-based youth camp, Trail Blazers, while the campers were asleep.
“This has never occurred in 25 years of camp,” the camp’s executive director, Riel Peerbooms, told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey. “The outdoors comes with challengers, but we certainly wouldnt put anyone at any risk. That would be unreasonable, so bear encounters can probably not be prevented.”
Two counselors gathered the group of nine children in a partially enclosed cabin and made noise to scare the bear away.
The bear left the site of the attack and then returned. It was rummaging through the campsite when state fish and game officials arrived.
A state wildlife technician was able to shoot the bear in the neck before the animal fled into the woods. It is now being hunted by a Department of Environmental Protection response team. The orders are to shoot to kill.
The Victims Suffered Only Minor Injuries. 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan Reports.
“It will be euthanized if it’s found,” Al Ivany, of the agency’s Fish & Wildlife Division, told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.
The bear is being tracked by conservation officers with the help of a blood-sniffing dog, according to the DEP.
Troopers said one of the boys suffered a puncture wound after the bear grabbed him by the foot and tried to pull him out of a tent. The bear then swiped at another tent, scratching a second boy on the shoulder.
Both children were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The attack reportedly lasted about 15 minutes.
Sections of the Appalachian Trail and intersecting hiking trails that run through Stokes State Forest have been closed.
“A wounded bear is actually not more dangerous, it’s less dangerous,” DEP spokesman Larry Raganese told 1010 WINS. “The wounded bear would tend to want to hide and recover from a wound if it can.”
Raganese said this is this first attack on humans by a black bear in New Jersey this year.
“The bear was looking for food and it really didn’t differentiate between kids and food,” he told CBS 2’s Hennessey.
The DEP advises campers and hikers to store food properly in bear-proof containers, or in their vehicles, and to always use caution in bear country.
In this case, however, the campsite food was apparently locked up and there were no attractants to draw the bear in.
Last month, three teenagers from the Tri-State Area were attacked by a grizzly bear while on a survival training expedition in Alaska.
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