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Meatball lover 'one heck of a smart bear,' official says

June 23, 2012 |  1:47 pm

If bears like frozen meatballs and tuna, oranges, birthday cake and baklava, state and local officials are concerned that bears will love a Fourth of July barbecue feast.

That scenario has police and wildlife authorities urging residents of Glendale and La Crescenta to secure their trash cans as the holiday full of backyard grilling approaches in the wake of an unlikely bear spotting.

At least one tenacious bear overcame freeways and other hazards to make a miles-long trek back to a  residential area bordering the Angeles National Forest this week. To the surprise of officials, a 400-pound black bear returned to the area after being tranquilized and transported about 25 miles deep into the forest two months ago. 

“Our sense is the food has attracted him back,” Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan said.

The bear, who has taken on a Twitter persona as “Glen Bearian” was spotted by a La Crescenta resident Thursday afternoon with the orange ear tag Fish and Game officials marked him with in April.

“I liken him to Yogi Bear,” Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. “To be tranquilized and transported 25 miles in the forest and to find his way back, that’s one heck of a smart bear.”  

Lorenz and Hughan have stressed the importance of not making it any easier for the intelligent ursine to wreak havoc on trash cans. Lorenz emphasized that residents must secure their garbage bins, "for the sake of the bear if nothing else” and pointed them to the city website that has an information sheet devoted to bear safety tips.

“We are not going to go and look for him, and we are asking local residents to keep the area around their home clean, trash picked up and barbecues clean this weekend,” Hughan said. “If there is no easy food available we hope he will stay in the woods and away from people.”   

Officials said it was unclear if a bear spotted Thursday night in Glendale was Glen Bearian or a different bear. A sheriff’s deputy reported seeing a bear, but could not see an ear tag in the dark of night, according to Lorenz. 

Residents reported seeing the bear about 10 p.m. in the 2500 block of East Chevy Chase Drive — the same spot where a bear was spotted in May digging through trash and snacking on chicken, rice and baklava.

“If the Chevy Chase bear isn’t the same,” Lorenz said, “then that’s Boo Boo.”  

RELATED:

Residents cheer as 'Glendale bear' safely taken away

Baklava bear may have returned for Glendale trash day

Meatball-loving bear returns to Glendale for weekend visit

-- Matt Stevens

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