The summer of the bear

The steady drumbeat of bear sightings in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains reached a crescendo last week, with two unusual incidents punctuating a season full of bear activity.

Bear-turned-celebrity Meatball, aka Glen Bearian, saw his run in the sun come to an end. After several visits to residential neighborhoods above Glendale, the bear with 28,000 Twitter followers was lured into a trap by a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Department of Fish and Game officials had grown weary of tranquilizing Glen Bearian and hauling him deep into the woods, only to see him return. His next stop is an animal sanctuary in Colorado.

Sad as that may be for Glen Bearian, another bear met a much worse fate in La Cañada Flintridge Aug. 26. A young bruin emerging near a McDonald’s at Foothill Boulevard and the Foothill (210) Freeway was struck by a car. He scampered to a forested area off the 210, but only made it a couple of hundred yards before stopping to rest with severe injuries. That afternoon, Fish and Game officials determined he was bleeding internally and had broken hips, and so euthanized him.

The driver was unhurt.

Experts say the bears are looking for an easy meal, but may be out in greater numbers this year because a dry winter left the forest less hospitable than usual and the searing heat drove them to seek relief where they could — including backyard pools.

Finally, fall is around the corner and the hottest days likely are behind us. We can only hope — for the bears’ sake as well as our own — that the denizens of the forest will stay there.

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