(NewsNation) — Bear attacks have left three people injured in Connecticut and Wyoming.
The victims include a 10-year-old boy and a two Wyoming college students, all of whom are recovering from their injuries.
Bears have been expanding out of their core populations throughout the past few decades. Along with that comes increasing rates of encounters between bears and humans.
Despite these recent attacks and several states reporting rising bear encounters, experts say not to worry about being mauled in the street.
James Butler’s grandson was playing on a trampoline Sunday in the backyard of his home when the 10-year-old boy suddenly found himself face-to-face with a 20-pound black bear.
“The bear came out of the woods and unexpectedly grabbed the poor 10-year-old, dragged him off toward the woods,” Butler said .
Butler, who uses a wheelchair, sprang into action, using a metal bar to throw at the bear’s head. The bear dropped the boy but then grabbed the child a second time, using its claws to try to roll the boy into his back.
A neighbor chased the bear off but it returned, walked up Butler’s wheelchair ramp and tried to enter the house through the screen door.
Experts say the bear had likely learned that it could find food in houses and that it might have viewed the boy as prey.
“It’s probably a bear that was both habituated and food-conditioned meaning it’s a bear that’s gotten very comfortable around people, around homes and houses” said Jenny Dickson, director of the Wildlife Division at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “It’s certainly possible that they could view a person as a prey item.”
Just a day before the mauling in Connecticut, two Wyoming college students were hospitalized after a grizzly bear attacked them while they were hiking in the Shoshone National Forest..
Kendell Cummings and Brady Lowry — both members of their school’s wrestling team, were searching for antlers from deer and elk when the grizzly attacked. The bear went after Lowry first and then turned its attention to Cummings as he tried to get the bear away from his friend.
The men were able to call 911 from near the scene. Cummings was flown to the hospital while Lowry was transported by ambulance.
Experts say that if you do encounter a bear, don’t approach it. Instead, go inside the nearest structure and if the bear continues to approach you, make yourself as big as you can by waving your arms. shouting and making loud noises or throwing sticks and rocks to scare the bear away.