2 injured in bear attack in Sussex County

August 4, 2011 4:14:12 AM PDT
Officials say two young campers were injured Wednesday morning after being attacked by a young black bear at Stokes State Forest in Sussex County.

The injured campers have been identified as an 11-year-old Brooklyn boy and a 12-year-old Jersey City boy. The boys were part of a camping group that included two adult counselors.

After the attack, which happened while the campers were sleeping, the counselors gathered the rest of the kids inside of a cabin and made noise to try and scare the bear away.

One child was scratched on the shoulder, and the other boy has a puncture wound on his foot he suffered when the bear tried to grab him out of the tent. As a precaution, both children were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

A responding state wildlife technician shot the bear near the campsite, wounding the animal in the neck. The bear subsequently fled into the adjacent woods and is being tracked by conservation officers and the Department of Environmental Protection's bear response team, aided by a blood-sniffing dog. Snares and traps also are being set in the wooded area.

Wildlife officials said the bear is a yearling, the age between cub and full-grown when a bear strikes out on its own. They cordoned off the area.

This is the first reported instance of a black bear attack against humans in New Jersey this year.