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Vandals Leave Dead Bear, 'Black Lives Don't Matter' Sign at National Park

Great Smoky Mountains rangers are offering a reward for information
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 3:30 AM CDT
Updated Sep 23, 2020 6:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – A dead black bear and a sign reading "Black lives don't matter" were found on an entrance sign for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee on Saturday morning. Rangers are asking anyone with information to reach out, and a $5,000 reward is being offered, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. "We take vandalism incidents seriously in the park, and this particular incident is particularly egregious," says Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy. The former park ranger who found the vandalism says the bear had been "freshly killed"; just its head and its pelt were found on the sign. "The skull was still in it and there was still fluid dripping off the backside of the skin," the former ranger says.

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The newspaper notes it's not clear whether the sign was actually meant to be racist or whether it was "a vague statement about conservation, management or poaching of black bears"; it read in full, "from here to the lake black lives don’t matter," all in capital letters, per WVLT. Media outlets, however, including the AP, are referring to the message as racist. (Read more Great Smoky Mountain National Park stories.)

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