Stop trying to make animals great again.
That’s the message animal welfare advocates are sending in Asheville, N.C., after finding a black bear with a “Trump 2020” sticker attached to its tracking collar.
“Bears are NOT Billboards!” the group, called Help Asheville Bears, wrote in a Facebook post.
The post features several photos of the black bear and its tracking collar, which includes a grey box plastered with the offending sticker.
The group points out that this is the second time a campaign sticker for U.S. President Donald Trump has been found on a local bear. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported another such incident last September.
The bears were both wearing tracking collars from the Urban/Surburban Bear Study, a joint effort by researchers at North Carolina State University and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The study is meant to track black bear populations in the state through radio tracking collars that show their locations.
“Whoever put these political stickers on these bears is cruel and heartless,” Help Asheville Bears wrote on Facebook. “This is 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.”
The bear had been “trapped, tranquillized and collared unnecessarily,” the group said.
Help Asheville Bears is now offering a US$5,000 reward for information that helps identify the person behind the sticker.
The group frequently advocates for the welfare of bears in the Asheville region. It also encourages people to sign petitions and send emails opposing bear traps sold by Amazon.
The post has captured viral attention since last Friday, racking up thousands of comments, shares and reactions from people concerned about the bear. Many users were bothered more by the collar than the sticker, arguing that the animals should be left alone entirely.
One popular response described the bears as “treasures” in the area.
“We have swallowed up their habitat with big fancy houses on the side of a mountain and added more stores than are necessary,” user Linda Davis wrote. “And then for someone to put political stickers on tracking collars is quite frankly disgusting.”
Some suggested the sticker might be a blessing in disguise because it has brought attention to the collars themselves.
“The collars are not good. They should be chipped!” another woman wrote. “Who cares about a sticker! Get the collars off!”
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