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Celebrity Los Angeles bear gets free membership for 'Club Med'

LOS ANGELES -- A bear that became an online celebrity has been recaptured after making his way yet again back to Los Angeles — and this time will get a new life in a “Club Med” for cuddly but dangerous animals.

Nicknamed “Meatball” and with his own Twitter account, the bear had already been returned to the wild twice after being found snaffling for food in the Los Angeles suburbs, the last time in July.

On that occasion he was tranquilized after being found asleep in a tree, and bundled off to the Los Angeles National Forest, a long way from the suburb of Glendale, from which he got his Twitter handle @TheGlendaleBear.

But on Wednesday he was back, spotted taking dip in someone's pool in another outlying district, and that was the final straw. He was lured into a cage — with bacon and honey — and will now be leaving California altogether.

“As a wildlife agency, our goal is always to keep animals wild, but in this case the best interest of the bear was to capture and relocate him to a safe and secure facility,” said Andrew Hughan of the Department of Fish and Game.

Next week he will be leaving for a new home at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.

The sanctuary's director Pat Craig said Meatball — also known as Glen Bearian from his time spent in Glendale — can look forward to a 720-acre (210-hectare) habitat where more than 80 bears roam free.

“The great thing is that bears, they get incredible food here. And that's the No. 1 thing bears live for ... It's actually kind of like the Club Med for bears,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

“It's a huge relief,” Sarah Aujero, 29, who runs his Twitter account which has 28,000 followers, told the newspaper. “He needs a place where he ... can have all the food and facilities for him to have a happy life.”

On his Twitter feed there was sadness at his departure, but relief that he was going to a good home. “Will miss hearing of your local escapades,” wrote @AlphaGrannyN.

Meatball himself appeared not too worried to be leaving California, which has been hit by a swarm of temblors this week. In Colorado the earth should shake less, and he will have a guaranteed food supply.

“Did you feel that earthquake a few minutes ago? That was just my tumtum rumbling,” tweeted the happy bear.

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