Townsend-based rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured cubs launches a campaign to protect bears

public_serviceKNOXVILLE, Tenn. March 1, 2013 –
The Appalachian Bear Rescue, a Townsend-based rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured black bears, recently launched a new public service campaign to educate the public about bear safety.

The campaign features Sam Venable, columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel, and was produced by Douglas D. Mills, videographer for WBIR’s Emmy-award winning Heartland Series.

“Black bears are an East Tennessee icon,” said Heather Ripley, spokeswoman for Appalachian Bear Rescue. “They appear cute and cuddly, but they are wild animals constantly in search of food — whether it is found in nature or in trash from campsites.”

According to the organization, black bears have a typical life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, but bears that rely on humans for food only live half that long. These ‘panhandler’ bears wander into populated areas, get hit by cars, are easy targets for poachers and can die from eating trash.

“Unfortunately, habituated bears must often be killed to protect the very people who fed them,” Ripley said. “If you’re in an area bears may call home, please keep our bears safe by picking up your trash and storing it in proper containers.”

For more information watch the PSAs on ABR’s YouTube page at


Presenter: Sam Venable, Knoxville News Sentinel

About Appalachian Bear Rescue

Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), located just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Townsend, Tenn., is a one-of-a-kind rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured black bears and those in need of medical care. ABR is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that has been returning black bears back to the wild since 1996.

Heather Ripley, FletcherPR
T: 865-249-8371