Who is sticking Trump 2020 tags on bears' collars in North Carolina? Animal lovers announce reward for info

In two separate instances, local residents spotted two of the wild animals with Trump 2020 stickers

                            Who is sticking Trump 2020 tags on bears' collars in North Carolina? Animal lovers announce reward for info
(Help Asheville Bears/Facebook)

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: A non-profit has announced a reward of $5,000 for anyone who can provide information about the Trump supporter responsible for putting Trump campaign stickers on the collars of wild black bears. 

The issue came to light on two separate instances when two local residents spotted two of the wild animals with Trump 2020 sticker on their collars. One of them was in September 2019, when an Asheville native sent a photo of a black bear on his deck, donning what he said was a Trump sticker on its tracking collar to the Citizen-Times. The second more recent incident involved a woman named Sheila Chapman spotting a Trump 2020 sticker on a bear's collar that stopped on her front porch on July 31.

Help Asheville Bears (HAB), the non-profit, confirmed that the two bears were not the same one based on the fact that the stickers were stuck at different angles on the collars. In an extensive post, they also declared that anyone who helps the organization track down the culprits will be handsomely compensated. 

"Bears are NOT Billboards! Second black bear in Asheville, NC confirmed with political sticker on tracking collar," the Facebook post said. "HAB is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the person(s) responsible for putting this political sticker on this beautiful bear who has already been trapped, tranquilized, and collared unnecessarily. This bear must wear this burdensome collar (now with a sticker) and bolts in its ears for worthless data." The group also shared photos of the wild animal with the sticker on a big plastic collar around its neck, as well as plastic tracking bolts in its ears.

"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. Either way, a full investigation needs to be done. Thank you to the amazing follower who sent this report and the pictures to us in order to help get this stopped. HAB agrees 100% with what you say below and we are so thankful to have a true fighter for animals, like you, standing up for the bears. You are a true animal lover and we all applaud your efforts to expose who did this," the nonprofit added.

The post also cited a quote by Chapman, on whose porch the bear had turned up on, who said that she had coexisted with bears for years. "I was shocked to see this on the bear's collar today. I believe this is an abhorrent practice. These bears are already suffering enough with the heavy collars and metal ear mutilations. But to put a political sticker on the collar? No words can describe my anger and sadness. I have reached out to North Carolina Urban/Suburban Bear Study number that I had from May 19, 2019, as well as North Carolina Wildlife Resources, but have not heard back from either," she said. 

She added: "I hope that someone can help identify the organization and person or persons who did this and that appropriate actions are taken. This should not be hard to do because there has to be a database of bears tagged and the tagger in any credible research organization. It will be easy to identify the specific bear because we have the date, time and the exact location of the bear that can correlated with collar GPS data."

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