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Tranquilized meatball-loving bear returns to La Crescenta

June 22, 2012 |  6:57 pm

Glendale bear
He’s back.

Months after entering the hearts of Glendale residents and feasting on Costco meatballs, the black bear tranquilized by wildlife officials and taken deep into the Angeles National Forest has reappeared.

Known on Twitter as Glen Bearian, the ursine returned to the area Thursday with his orange ear tag, attached to make him stand out in the crowd.

California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan confirmed to The Times that the same bear that officials tranquilized in April was spotted in the Glendale-La Crescenta area Thursday afternoon.

“We hope that the bear has returned to the Glendale area to live where it feels comfortable, not to eat out of the same trash cans and dumpsters,” Hughan said.

“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 bbq's clean this weekend. If there is no easy food available we hope he will stay in the woods and away from people.”

Reports of his spotting came just hours after Hughan told The Times that “Glen Bearian is not going to be coming back to Glendale.... The chances of him making a return would be an Olympic feat.”

2012, of course, is an Olympic year.

“Our sense is the food has attracted him back,” Hughan said.

The bear was transported so deep into the Angeles National forest that Hughan said he would have had to traverse multiple freeways and roam through several small towns to make it back to Glendale.

Apparently he wanted those meatballs.

The Crescenta Valley Weekly reported that resident Kelly MacDonald discovered the bear in her backyard near her pool.

"They were not screams of fear, but of excitement," she said of spotting the bear. "We grabbed our cameras."

After taking several shots, MacDonald, who said her home is near the forest, said the bear crawled over the fence and back into the trees.

Her excitement was indicative of a community that grew infatuated with the bear after he made several weekly visits to the area in search of food. Officials had initially scared the animal off with sirens and other passive measures, but finally opted to tranquilize him and send him home in April after repeated visits.

Once he was tranquilized, La Crescenta residents, some still dressed in their pajamas, cheered as authorities slid the 400-pound animal into a cage.

"It's sort of the local legend of Montrose," Pam Raines, 58, said of the bear. "He's never hurt anybody."

Other bears, including one who seems to prefer baklava, have recently arrived in the area as well, but none to as much fanfare as “Glen Bearian.”  

Asked the day he was tranquilized if there was a possibility Bearian would come back, Lt. Martin Wall of  California Fish and Game said that he has his “own free will” but that “the freeway is a pretty big deterrent.”

Apparently, not big enough for Glen Bearian.


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

Photo: A black bear weighing over 400 pounds strolls through the yard of a home on Mayfield Avenue in La Crescenta in April before being tranquilized by state Fish and Game authorities. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times