Famous for his appetite, ‘Meatball’ lured to captivity with McDonald’s and bacon

The famous Glendale bear readjusts in an enclosure after being captured in La Canada Flintridge on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
(California Department of Fish and Game)

In the dark light of dusk Wednesday morning, a game warden laid out a trail of McDonald’s Happy Meal and French fries to lure the Glendale bear to a trap on a residential street just outside the Angeles National Forest.

Inside the trap, bacon and honey were waiting.

“He was eating away and he closed the trap,” said Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish & Game. “It was a pretty clandestine operation.”

So much so that Hughan said no tranquilizer was needed for the Glendale bear known affectionately as “Meatball” – a reference to his early affinity for frozen meatballs packed in a home’s garage – and by his Twitter persona, “Glen Bearian.” Once he was captured, there was no fuss.


The bear was caught in the 5000 block of Ocean View Boulevard at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, with the game warden whisking him away to an animal rescue in San Diego County in his Chevy Silverado. 

It was the third time the bear has been caught in a residential area by authorities since April, but rather than again sending him deep into the forest, this time authorities decided to remove the bear permanently.

State officials don’t normally send a bear to a sanctuary, but this was a special case since it had become so popular on social media and via news reports of his meatball- and baklava-laden menus.

The bear was being fed and watered at his temporary home in anticipation of his move to a larger animal sanctuary in Colorado 30 miles outside of Denver.


--Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Follow Brittany on Google+ or Twitter: @brittanylevine