Help Asheville Bears (HAB) is offering a $5,000 reward to locate the person or persons responsible for slapping a “Trump 2020” sticker on a bear.
HAB posted on Facebook: “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.” Sheila Chapman, an Asheville resident, spotted the bear and photographed it, who informed HAB that the animal was spotted last week hanging out on her front porch.
Last year, Chapman had already come across a bear that possessed a collar and found out that they were being labeled as part of research by the group The North Carolina Urban/Suburban Bear Study. Chapman told HAB: “I believe this is an abhorrent practicum. 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.” Dr. Chris DePerno, who’s involved with the bear study program, explained to reporters that the research workers do not tolerate “anyone approaching a bear for any purpose” and stressed it’s “highly unethical to place any sticker on an animal.”
“Unfortunately, someone has habituated this bear to the point where it has lost its natural wariness of people, allowing this person to place the sticker on the collar,” DePerno said. “The person that has helped this bear become food-dependent and habituated is putting humans and the safety of the bear at risk.” Back in September 2019, a piece in the Asheville Citizen Times revealed a resident uncovering a Trump sticker on a bear. It is uncertain if it is a different bear or the same bear that Chapman photographed.
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