Officials: Bear captured, euthanized after attacking children

MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. — A bear that was involved in an attack on children last week near Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, was captured and euthanized, officials say.

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In a news release, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said that two bears -- a male and a female -- were caught overnight in live traps following an attack on May 22. In the bear attack, a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old were both injured near Wright Township.

DNA testing was completed from the children’s clothing following the attack and samples were collected Friday morning from the trapped bears, game commission officials said. Both bears were taken to Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at East Stroudsburg University, where testing there confirmed that the female bear was the same one in the attack involving the children.

“For more than 125 years, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has worked to protect and provide for the Commonwealth’s wildlife,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans in the news release. “With the agency’s guidance, the state’s once-beleaguered bear population recovered, prospering to the point we now have about 15,000 bears statewide, and bear hunting opportunities in most counties. Pennsylvania’s bear populations really couldn’t be doing better, and that will continue to be the case.”

Officials said that bear attacks in Pennslyvania are rare, according to The Associated Press. When the bear attacks do happen, the bears are captured and then euthanized.

Once the bear is euthanized, they are tested for rabies, according to the AP. Euthanizing the bear is the only way to test for rabies. Testing for rabies is done to address any public health risk concerns and see if victims need to get treated for rabies.

“While the agency doesn’t take lightly its duty to follow protocol to euthanize a bear involved in an attack, it also places great importance on ensuring public safety, and in this case we have fulfilled our responsibility through our actions,” Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said in the news release.

Game commission officials said the male bear has been relocated to a remote area away from where the attack happened.

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