A man has come forward and apologized for putting the bear at risk
With the U.S. presidential election only months away, not even the wildlife is safe from aggressive presidential campaign supporters.
There’s actually a black bear roaming the Great Smoky Mountains with a Trump sticker stuck to its tracking collar, and a bear-advocacy group in Asheville is not happy about it. The tracking collar was placed by biologists to study the bear’s movements, but someone used that collar as a political billboard.
When a photo was shared of the bear with the Trump sticker attached to its collar, Help Ashville Bears (HAB) put out a call on Facebook asking for anyone with information on the sticker to come forward.
Tuesday morning, a local resident admitted to placing the sticker on the collar and apologized to HAB for endangering the bear.
Jody Williams, a member with HAB, told 7 News, “I spoke with the person and he guaranteed that no more stickers will be put on. It was basically done in protest. He loves the bears."
Williams said the person was able to get close enough to the bear to place a sticker on its collar because it is habituated to humans.
“It’s slightly habituated to be hand fed by humans. He was able to get that close to it. That’s unfortunate because that compromises the bear’s safety in many ways,” Williams said.
This is the second bear that has been discovered to be sporting a Trump sticker on its tracking collar.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on a similar situation in May 2019, but it’s believed to be a different bear because of different sticker placement.
Williams said the issue the advocacy group has with the stickers has nothing to do with Trump. HAB is non-political, and any sticker could threaten the safety of the bear by exposing its natural camouflage in the woods, which could result in death.
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.