ALPINE (CNS) - The Alpine wildlife sanctuary caring for Meatball the bear, who was removed from a Los Angeles-area foothill community in August after repeated incursions, announced an auction Wednesday to help raise money for completing a 4-acre habitat for the now-neutered bear.
Meatball's ear tag, a paw print and a lock of fur will be auctioned via E-bay. The auction starts today and ends Nov. 16.
Officials at Lions, Tigers and Bears said that $105,000 had been raised toward a goal of $250,000 for completing Meatball's habitat and hope the auction will boost donations.
Donations can be made through the sanctuary's website, lionstigersandbears.org.
While sedated, Meatball had his "210" Fish and Game ear tag removed, was "paw printed" and had a few locks of his fur clipped for display in the sanctuary's education center.
When state Fish and Game trappers snared the roughly 500-pound California brown bear in August, he had already been caught and returned to the Angeles National Forest twice.
At that point, wildlife experts concluded that Meatball had grown too reliant on humans, foraging through garbage in foothill cities. He earned his nickname when he was spotted raiding a garage freezer for Costco meatballs in Glendale. On another occasion, her spotted take a dip in a pool in La Canada-Flintridge
Meatball's freewheeling ended with his capture in August, when he was taken to the Alpine wildlife sanctuary.
The 5- or 6-year-old bear has since been neutered and had an identifying microchip placed under his skin, according to Lions, Tigers and Bears, which acquired another wayward bear, dubbed Sugar Bear, from a closed sanctuary in Ohio last month.
Meatball has been given a clean bill of health, after being tested for parasites and undergoing a dental exam
According to Lions, Tigers and Bears, the habitat's 12-by-18-foot "safety bedroom" is nearly complete and Meatball will be moved there as soon as possible. The habitat's landscape was being prepared for construction.
Bears that repeatedly return to populated areas are sometimes euthanized, but Meatball was spared. Initially,he was to be held at the Alpine sanctuary temporarily, then moved to a 720-acre sanctuary in Kennesburg, Colo.
But Colorado wildlife officials blocked those plans on hold, citing a Colorado statute that says "no wildlife taken from the wild shall be possessed by any wildlife sanctuary."