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Bear attacks and injures 2 young children playing in their driveway in Pennsylvania

2 children attacked by bear in Luzerne County
2 children attacked by bear in Luzerne County 00:17

A black bear attacked two young children who were playing in their driveway this week outside of their home in eastern Pennsylvania, officials said. 

The children, who are 5 years old and 14 months old, sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the Monday attack, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Both were treated for "bites and/or scratches" and later released from Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, which is near their family's home in Wright Township.

In a Facebook post, the agency said it will investigate the incident to determine whether the children might have done anything to provoke the bear before it attacked them. 

"This is an unfortunate incident and I'm relieved to hear their injuries aren't severe," said Bryan Burhans, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, in a statement.

The commission has set two bear traps in the area in an effort to capture the animal. If a bear is caught, its DNA will be tested to potentially see if it is a match for the bear involved in the attack. If the match is positive, the bear will be euthanized as a precaution, although officials believe the animal probably does not pose a general threat to humans. Around 15,000 black bears live in Pennsylvania, the state estimates, and attacks on humans are extremely uncommon.

"In general, Pennsylvania's bears avoid contact with people and attacks are rare," the game commission wrote on Facebook. "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."

It is "more likely" that Monday's bear attack "was triggered by some unknown circumstance," the commission said, noting that bears are naturally afraid of people. 

But Pennsylvania still has laws in place that prohibit residents from feeding the animals intentionally, and for those living in "bear country," officials warn against leaving trash that contains discarded food in places where bears might be able to access it. Despite their natural fear of people, bears "can lose some of that fear when living close to people, and especially if they're fed" or identify properties where food is easily accessible to them, according to the game commission.

In 2018, a black bear attacked a woman behind her home in Pennsylvania, dragging her more than 80 yards into some nearby woods before she was able to escape.

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