Glendale bear is caught, now headed for wildlife sanctuary in Colorado

August 29, 2012
(California Department…)

The Glendale bear known as “Meatball” was captured Wednesday in La Cañada Flintridge after a game warden lured the popular ursine with bacon and honey -- adding a sense of urgency to a campaign set up by his fans to raise money for his transport to a permanent home at a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado.

The bear, also known on Twitter as “Glen Bearian,” was “resting comfortably” after being captured Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.

The bear was transported to the Lions, Tigers and Bears rehabilitation and animal sanctuary in Alpine, north of San Diego, where he will await transport to the wildlife refuge in Colorado.

“As a wildlife agency our goal is always to keep animals wild, but in this case, the best interest of the bear was to capture and relocate him to a safe and secure facility, said state fish and game spokesman Andrew Hughan.


Sarah Aujero, the Glendale resident who launched the popular Twitter handle @TheGlendaleBear, said she was happy to hear the animal she had been imitating on social media for months had been safely caught.

“I want the bear to be safe,” Aujero said. “I think this is the best for now. Nobody got hurt in the process and there wasn’t a big spectacle. He was able to be captured without a big ruckus.”

But the bear’s transport will cost money, prompting some of his most ardent fans in Glendale to tap into the power of social media to raise funds for the transport by selling T-shirts and buttons.

The first batch of Glendale bear shirts have already proven a hit.

“I’m already running out of sizes,” said Glendale resident Scott Lowe, who with Aujero cooked up the idea to sell merchandise to raise money.

The duo started selling the shirts online at Tuesday, the same day Meatball was reportedly spotted swimming in a La Crescenta pool.

The 400-pound bear has been paying regular visits to the foothills for months, munching on meatballs, oranges and baklava. He recently returned for a third time to the La Crescenta area this week after having been relocated to Angeles National Forest twice before.

“It’s not often that you hear of a bear that’s so animated,” said Aujero. “The stories of this bear are something you would find in a children’s book.”

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