Glendale bear ear-tagged before release into forest
If a meatball-loving black bear that visited Glendale weekly for dinner on trash days ever returns for a snack, state authorities will know it.
That's because the 400-pound bear felled Tuesday by multiple tranquilizer darts and later returned to the forest was tagged on the ear so authorities can keep track of him.
"He’s got his free will. He can go wherever he wants," said Lt. Martin Wall of the California Department of Fish and Game. "But the freeway is a pretty significant deterrent."
Coincidentally, the bear’s ear tag was numbered 210, but Wall said it was unrelated to the 210 Freeway it would probably have to cross to return to Glendale from the Angeles National Forest.
The bear was "groggy and grumpy but doing well" after being released Tuesday 25 miles deep into the Angeles National Forest, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game.
The hungry bear, which was known to like Costco meatballs, was felled in a drama that unfolded on morning television. The bear, who is impersonated on Twitter as "Glen Bearian," had his fate sealed sometime after 6 a.m. Tuesday when Wall was summoned to Montrose after police received four reports of bear sightings.
By about 7:30 a.m., the bear had been struck twice by tranquilizer darts, Wall said. About an hour later, the specialist was mixing chemicals for another dart in the back of a truck bed when a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy approached and told him: "We've got to end this thing."
So after a militant, two-block march to Montrose Avenue, Wall hand-injected a third dart into the sleepy but not asleep bear. That did the trick. Within minutes, Wall and seven deputies used a blanket to carry the knocked-out ursine out of a narrow apartment complex gate.
"It's like moving a water bed without a frame," Wall said afterward.
In front of dozens of locals — some dressed in pajamas, others carrying their children on their shoulders — authorities slid the blanketed bear into a cage for transport. When the door slammed shut, the spectators let out a cheer, saying the applause was as much for their own renewed safety as for the bear that became the town's mascot.
"It's sort of the local legend of Montrose," Pam Raines, 58, said of the bear. "He's never hurt anybody."
-- Matt Stevens