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'Bears are not billboards' | Person apologizes after placing 'Trump 2020' sticker on bear

The Trump 2020 sticker was stuck to the bear's tracking collar. The group said this is the second bear spotted with a political sticker.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — (UPDATE Aug. 4 2020, 10:15 p.m.): Officials with Help Asheville Bears said Tuesday evening that the person who stuck a "Trump 2020" sticker on the collar of a black bear has apologized.

“Besides being highly unethical, a colorful sticker also compromises the bear's natural camouflage in its environment and encourages other people to try to get close to bears, which put their lives at risk when other less bear friendly people encounter it," Jody Williams, a co-founder of Help Asheville Bears, said in a press release.

The person who placed the sticker on the bear also said they would not have any contact with bears in the future, according to officials. They said they placed the sticker on the bear "in protest of the unnecessary, excessive tagging and collaring of wild bears who suffer enough through North Carolina's hunting season," officials said.

Although the group offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the person responsible, the person who reported them did not the reward. 

--OLD STORY--

A bear-advocacy group in Asheville is not happy that someone placed a Trump sticker on a black bear.

Their concerns don't appear to be political, but that someone is using the bear as a billboard. According to a post on Facebook, the group "Help Asheville Bears" (HAB) said this is the second bear that has been seen with a Trump sticker on its tracking collar.

"Whoever put these political stickers on these bears is cruel and heartless. HAB and our followers hope to stop and expose you. This is now the second bear this happened to, which can only mean either someone in the study is doing this or it is someone in the public," the post reads.

HBA is offering a $5,000 dollar reward to find out who is responsible.

A woman in North Asheville shared the photos of the bear with the sticker on its collar.

The group said that the Asheville Citizen-Times reported on a similar situation in May 2019. They believe it is a different bear because according to the photos, the sticker is placed in a different direction.

If anyone has tips related to the bear with the Trump sticker, they are asked to call 1-855-SOS-BEAR

See more Smoky Mountain bear stories here: