Back in 2012, a bear named Meatball began to gather quite the online presence. Meatball, or as he was known to Fish and Game - 210, is a California Black Bear who lived in the Angeles National Forest. Meatball began to roam around the North Glendale area and cause problems for local residents. He loved to rifle through trash cans and wreak havoc in the quiet neighborhood.
Meatball got his name when he busted rifling through a garage freezer where he found and enjoyed a bag of Costco Meatballs. He absolutely loves to dig through trash as well, and donuts are another favorite of his.
Although Meatballs antics were definitely cute, the one that led to him becoming famous online was when he decided to take a dip in a swimming pool. This photogenic bear seemed to be smiling in the photos in the pool. A neighbor even made a twitter account where people could keep up with Meatball’s mischief! When Meatball kept returning to the neighborhood, Fish and Game was left with no options for the habituated bear except euthanasia.
Meatball the bear was saved, when two wild animal rescues heard about his plight and offered to take him in. Lions, Tigers, and Bears in Alpine, California were prepared to take on Meatball until the rescue in Colorado cleared all the paperwork to take him in. Sadly, Colorado officials blocked the transfer due to a law that forbade Colorado wild animal rescues to take in wild born animals. Lions, Tigers, and Bears then became Meatball’s permanent home and he has lived there ever since.
Meatball’s transition to captivity was a bit rough for him at first, but he adapted quickly. At first, he wouldn’t eat the healthy diet they were offering as he had become accustomed to junk food. After a while, he did begin to eat healthy foods and has settled into his six acre habitat quite happily. He now lives with five other bears there too!
I’ve had the opportunity to tour the rescue personally and see this bear for myself! He was the first bear up to the fence to check us all out, and tried to get us all to feed him! He absolutely loved the attention he got from us all!
Meatball is living the good life at the rescue now, where he has constant access to a pool of his very own! Sadly for him, Costco Meatballs aren’t an approved food for a bear’s health so he doesn’t get his favorite treat anymore. However, he now gets whole fresh fish, fruits and vegetables and he seems to love it just as much!
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