A notoriously hungry bear that has stolen snacks too often in California will not be moved to Colorado.
The 400-pound bear, nicknamed "Meatball," was captured Wednesday after roaming the streets in California. The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo. said it would take Meatball, but they've been stopped for now.
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the sanctuary cannot bring the bear to the state because of a regulation which says "no wildlife taken from the wild shall be possessed by any wildlife sanctuary."
However, the Executive Director of the sanctuary said that contradicts what state law says about the purpose of a wildlife sanctuary.
"This rule that they came up with is totally contrary to what the law says about us taking in orphaned and displaced wildlife," Pat Craig said. "We've been taking in orphaned and displaced bears from California and other places for more than two or three decades now and it's never been a problem."
Craig said the rules are confusing and need to change. But a spokesperson for the Division of Wildlife Jennifer Churchill said she thought they were clear.
"We don't think there's any miscommunication about that state law regulating the fact sanctuaries can't take animals from the wild," Churchill said.
Meanwhile, Craig said they recently moved two cubs from Sacramento to the sanctuary because their mother was killed, and Parks and Wildlife knew about it. He said this is the first time this rule has been brought to his attention. 7NEWS asked Churchill about the cubs. She said she was not aware of that situation.
Meatball was trapped by California Department of Fish & Game after being seen in at least two locations. He got his name after taking Costco meatballs from a home. He was also seen swimming in a pool. The black bear is being held at the Lions, Tigers and Bears in San Diego. The organization is waiting to see what lawyers decide in Colorado. If Meatball can't move to Colorado, they try to raise $25,000 there to build a permanent habitat for the bear.
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