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Meatball, the Glendale Bear, Will Stay in California (For Now)

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The meatball-loving bear that took a few too many trips down into the Glendale and La Crescenta area to grab a snack or take a backyard pool dip is not going to a Colorado sanctuary touted as the "Club Med for Bears" after all.

The Glendale Bear, nicknamed Meatball or Glen Bearian, has been in Alpine, in San Diego County, at the Lions, Tigers and Bears facility, awaiting transport after capture to what was meant to be his new permanent home. But the nuances of a Colorado state law that stipulates it is "unlawful in Colorado for the owner of a wildlife sanctuary to possess a bear taken from the wild," have led the California Department of Fish and Game to opt to keep Meatball in California for now.

In an emailed statement, the Department of Fish and Game said they are "working with several wildlife sanctuaries and animal care facilities in an attempt to find a permanent home for [the] bear," adding that, for the time being, Meatball is "safe and secure" in his current placement. Meatball is "well taken care of, feeding and appears to be healthy, " and the facility "staff has been outstanding."

It might take some time for the DFG to find Meatball a new home. In the meantime, Lions Tigers & Bears have already launched a fundraising campaign to help build a habitat for Meatball. "The total cost of this undertaking is unknown at this time, but Bobbi Brink, founder of LTB, estimates the cost to be well into the tens of thousands of dollars, not including the cost of a pool for this water-loving bear," explains LTB on their site.

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LTB explains how you can help:

SDG&E has generously offered to donate the 26-foot wooden poles needed to build the new bear habitat, and additional organizations and individuals have offered to assist in construction to help expedite the process. Individuals wishing to donate to the bear habitat fund can call (619) 659-8078 or click on “Support the Cats.”

Another fundraising effort is underway online via The Glendale Bear's official site, where funds used to buy Glendale Bear merchandise will help care for the pop-cult icon bear.