Southern California’s favorite black bear Meatball will have to be neutered, among other medical procedures intended to prepare him for life in a San Diego sanctuary.
Meatball was captured in the San Gabriel Foothills earlier this month and sent to the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine, where organizers are hoping to build him a permanent enclosure.
But before he can settle in with his new friends at the sanctuary, he must first undergo several medical procedures. Meatball must complete a physical and get blood work done.
Veterinarians will give him a micro-chip and neuter him so that he can be around other bears, according to a statement from Lions Tigers and Bears.
Meatball was only supposed to live in the Alpine sanctuary temporarily, but his planned home in Colorado may not be able to take him, due to state wildlife laws.
Now, the sanctuary is asking the public to chip in for a permanent enclosure with a bedroom, enclosed outdoor area and – if Meatball is lucky – a small pool to swim in. While Meatball may still be sent to Colorado, building an enclosure will be key to his adaptation.
“He is already settling down a bit and we have decided not to uproot this process and haul him across the country only to start the entire process all over again, which would add more stress to an already stressful situation,” read a statement from Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions Tigers and Bears.
“Rather, we've decided to go forward build Meatball a proper habitat and hope Meatball will be ready to go into the new habitat shortly after it is built.”
Meatball became a bear celebrity in Los Angeles after several residents captured him on camera eating junk food and swimming in pools. He’s now on Twitter and appears on t-shirts sold by one of his biggest fans.
For information on how to donate to the sanctuary, click here.