Meatball is a wild born California black bear, who was captured by California Department of Fish and Wildlife on August 29, 2012 after his third-strike meddling in the La Cañada Flintridge neighborhood northeast of Los Angeles. The Department has a three strike rule for habituated bears - bears not afraid to enter areas of human habitation. They can be captured and relocated twice, and on the third strike, they must be euthanized, or in very rare cases, rehomed to a sanctuary.
Prior to August 29, 2012, Meatball was seen scavenging for food in his favorite neighborhood and even swimming in a homeowner's swimming pool. In response, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife dispatched a game warden to set culvert traps baited with bacon and honey to capture the bear. The compassionate decision was made to relocate Meatball rather than to euthanize him.
One of the traps caught Meatball at approximately 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 29. Happily, no tranquilizer was needed to retrieve Meatball or to secure him in the transportation vehicle that brought him to Lions Tigers & Bears. He was placed in temporary quarantine at Lions Tigers & Bears, with the expectation that he would ultimately be sent to a wildlife center near Denver. However, changes in the law by the Colorado Division of Wildlife prohibits wild-bred animals from entering exotic animal sanctuaries in that state, so Meatball has found a permanent home at Lions Tigers & Bears.
Meatball has adjusted well to his new life at our sanctuary. He loves eating avocados and raw-shelled nuts and swimming in the waterfall pool of his spacious habitat that he shares with his black bear friends Sugar Bear, Blossom, Delilah, Liberty and Maddie.