BRANCHVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A state environmental official says a black bear that wandered into a campsite in a northwestern New Jersey state forest did not injure two young campers, as authorities first thought.
Fish and Wildlife Division Assistant Director Larry Herrighty said Thursday that hospital officials concluded the abrasions found on the 11- and 12-year-old boys were not caused by a bear.
The 2-year-old Yearling black bear did scare everyone.
“These are the types of bears that tend to be a bit, kind of like human teenagers, they’re a bit looser, run amok a bit,” Larry Ragonese, of the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
The youths were with a group of nine campers and two counselors sleeping in tents in the Stokes State Forest in Sussex County when the bear entered their campsite around 5 a.m. Wednesday searching for food.
The bear was scared off by whistles and shouting. It was shot by a conservation officer as it fled.
“Probably the bear is somewhere in a tree, on the side of a hillside curled up, licking its wounds,” Ragonese said.
So now, with the misunderstanding cleared up, why not just let the bear be? Wildlife experts said the bear had enough close exposure to humans to warrant capture if possible.
CBS 2 spoke with the leader of the Trailblazers camping group Thursday night who stood by the way its counselors responded by taking the kids to the hospital just in case.
State officials said they will likely give the search another 48 hours tops, then call it over.
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