$3,000 raised to give bear a home

Sept. 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

ALPINE, Calif., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The California woman who made Meatball the bear a national celebrity said she has raised $3,000 toward a permanent home for the animal.

Sarah Aujero, who started the Glen Bearian Twitter persona to help save Meatball, a bear captured while wandering the streets of Glendale, said her Operation Meatball fundraising campaign has raised $3,000 through sales of T-shirts, buttons and tote bags bearing a cartoon likeness of the 400-pound black bear, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Aujero said she was allowed to visit Meatball Sept. 6 at the Lions, Tigers & Bears sanctuary in Alpine and the bear burped in her direction.

"I had to double-check and ask if that was a growl or a burp, and it was confirmed to be a burp," Aujero said.

The sanctuary said it is planning a permanent habitat for the bear, who currently resides in a 15-by-20-foot cage, complete with a waterfall, hammocks, trees and caves.

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