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McDonald's fries, cheeseburger lure Glendale bear into trap

August 30, 2012 |  8:55 am

Chalk up another item on the Glendale bear’s ever-growing list of favorite foods.

In addition to honey and bacon, California Fish and Game officials lured the 400-pound black bear into a culvert trap using a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a spokesman for the department said.

Though the exact details of how the drama played out remain unclear, a warden purchased a cheeseburger Happy Meal and laid out a path of French fries that led to the trap, according to spokesman Andrew Hughan. Then the warden tossed the cheeseburger into the trap itself, along with the bacon and honey.

PHOTOS: Southern California's backyard bears

The bear, known to some as “Meatball” or "Glen Bearian," could not resist.

Early Wednesday morning officials say the bear, who has frequented the Glendale and La Crescenta areas repeatedly since March, strolled straight into a trap set near the La Cañada Flintridge area. Around 7 a.m., a warden arrived, the trap was eventually hitched to a truck, and the bear was driven to Lions Tigers & Bears, an animal rescue shelter in Alpine, east of San Diego near the Cleveland National Forest.

“McDonald's french fries, bacon & Costco Meatballs.#GodBlessAmerica,” tweeted Sarah Aujero, owner of the handle @TheGlendaleBear, which has more than 28,000 followers.

Word of a large black bear having broken into a residential garage in La Crescenta in March quickly captured the public's attention. Bears are spotted routinely in the area, but this one had managed to open a refrigerator and munch on Costco meatballs.  Aujero, 29, started the Twitter handle and named him Glen Bearian and over time, the bear made multiple return visits to the area. He swam in pools and slept in a tree, forcing wildlife officials to tranquilize and move him — twice in a matter of months — deep into Angeles National Forest.

Each time, Glen Bearian came back, apparently still hungry and hot.

But after Wednesday’s successful trapping, he must have been full of McDonald's because, for once, he wasn't hungry.

Bobbi Brink, founder and director of Lions Tigers & Bears, said he remained quiet, and looked exhausted late Wednesday.

“He’s not eating yet, but he’s been in and out of his water pool,” she said. “So he’s cooling himself off.”

Bearian will remain in a 15-by-20 quarantine cage in Alpine likely until at least next week, when he can be transported to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

There he will be showered with salmon, raw eggs and maybe even meatballs, said Pat Craig, executive director of the sanctuary. 

"The great thing is that bears, they get incredible food here. And that's the No. 1 thing bears live for," Craig said. "It's actually kind of like the Club Med for bears."


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-- Matt Stevens

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