With donations from the public, “Meatball” the black bear will have a new habitat in San Diego
Alpine, Calif. – (September 12, 2012) – Lions Tigers and Bears (LTB), an exotic animal sanctuary in east San Diego, Calif., has actively started fundraising to build a habitat for the rescued black bear, “Meatball,” after learning the proposed transfer to Colorado will not be allowed due to Colorado law stating it is unlawful for a wildlife sanctuary to possess a bear taken from the wild.
The California Department of Fish and Game released a statement on September 11, 2012 stating, “Out of respect for Colorado law, we do not intend to allow the bear to be transported there.”
The 500-pound bear, named “Meatball” after his preference for the Costco brand, was captured by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) on August 28, 2012 in Glendale, Calif. because he had become “habituated” – unafraid to enter areas of human habitation. Since habituated bears pose a potential threat to humans, they must be removed from the wild. Most are euthanized, but the California DFG chose to relocate Meatball instead. Meatball arrived to LTB for quarantine, a process all captured animals complete to ensure they are free of diseases and are healthy enough for a medical check-up.
Having just welcomed a new bear in June, LTB is at full capacity. The exotic animal sanctuary is asking for donations from the public to help build Meatball’s habitat. Meatball will need a safety bedroom, as well as an enclosed outdoor area to roam and play that will be full of rolling hills, caves, hammocks, boulders and natural grasses. Because he loves water (before being captured, he was filmed pool-hopping), the sanctuary would love to build him a pool.
“We need to do what’s best for Meatball,” said Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of Lions Tigers and Bears. “We are ready to begin building the habitat as soon as possible but need financial support from the public in order to get started.”
SDG&E has offered to donate 26-foot wooden poles to support the outdoor enclosure. In addition, groups including Prom Plus, Prom Plus Club and the Crescenta Valley Weekly have already begun fundraising for the new bear habitat. While LTB is awaiting official estimates from contractors, the much larger bear habitat currently on premises cost $250,000 to complete.
Meanwhile, LTB has begun the challenging process of getting Meatball accustomed to life in captivity. As a wild animal, he doesn’t understand how to live in an enclosure or that it’s OK to eat food provided by people. His instincts tell him to try to escape and to distrust the people around him. This is why living in a small enclosure at this time is so important to his recovery.
Meatball will not only need to go through this mental process of rehabilitation, but will also have to undergo a host of medical procedures, including a complete physical examination, comprehensive blood work, implantation of a micro-chip, a dental check-up and neutering in order to be with other bears.
Fortunately, LTB has the experience, patience and compassion to see Meatball through this process. No one can predict how long it will take Meatball to decide that the care provided by his caretakers is OK. Some bears are ready in a few days, while others take months.
“This bear has touched so many hearts with his story. We want to see this through to a happy ending,” continued Brink. “The California Department of Fish and Game has assisted us in every way possible, and we thank them for their ongoing support to do what is best for Meatball.”
For more information about Meatball, to donate to the habitat fund or to become a member of the Lions, Tigers and Bears community, please visit: http://www.lionstigersandbears.org or call 619-659-8078.
About Lions, Tigers and Bears
Lions, Tigers & Bears (LTB) is a federally and state licensed non-profit 501 (c)(3) rescue facility dedicated to providing a safe haven for unwanted and abused exotic cats and other exotic animals. LTB is a NO KILL, NO BREED and NO SELL facility that allows cats in its care the opportunity to live out their lives with dignity in a caring and safe environment. LTB’s goal is to provide a safe haven to rescued exotics and to educate the public about the growing population of abandoned and unwanted exotic animals. LTB is one of few sanctuaries in the United States with the highest level of accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
For more information or to make a donation to help care for the animals at LTB, please visit www.lionstigersandbears.org or call (619) 659-8078.