Meatball the bear to get float in Tournament of Roses parade - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Meatball the bear to get float in Tournament of Roses parade

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ALPINE (CNS) - A wayward black bear that found sanctuary in Alpine will be represented by an animatronic version of himself on the city of Glendale's float in Wednesday's Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena.

Meatball, a 400-pound adult California black bear, was taken in by Alpine's Lions Tigers & Bears sanctuary in August 2012 after he was captured for the third time roaming in a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles County. The two previous times, the bear was tranquilized and taken back into the Angeles National Forest.

He earned his nickname because he was once spotted raiding a garage freezer of Costco meatballs.

The city of Glendale's parade float is themed "Let's Be Neighbors," according to Lions, Tigers & Bears.

A key message behind the float is ensuring neighborhoods are safer for people and wildlife by doing things like securing trash cans and keeping pets inside homes at night and other times when bears are around, sanctuary founder Bobbi Brink said.

Lions, Tigers & Bears is raising money to build a multi-acre habitat for Meatball and other bears. Brink said about $20,000 is still needed to reach the sanctuary's fundraising goal. Sanctuary officials previously said $350,000 was needed to build the habitat.

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