"Meatball" the Bear Memorabilia Fetches $2K on eBay
"Meatball" cools off in a water tub at Lions, Tigers & Bears in Alpine in San Diego County. (Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary / September 12, 2012)
Officials at Lions Tigers and Bears animal sanctuary were auctioning off the bear's orange ear tag, a paw print and a few locks of fur as part of a fundraising effort to build a new habitat.
The sanctuary has been caring for Meatball since he was captured by the California Department of Fish & Game for a third time back in August.
The package of memorabilia had initially included a tuft of Meatball's fur, but it was later removed after the sanctuary learned that California law prohibits the sale of wild animal hair.
The identity of the winning bidder has not yet been released.
Meatball captured the public's attention last spring when he began roaming neighborhoods near the Angeles National Forest.
The 500-pound bear earned his nickname after he was caught rummaging through a resident's garage freezer, chowing down on a bag of Costco meatballs
Lions Tigers and Bears needs $250,000 to build a permanent four-acre outdoor habitat with trees, open space and a water fountain.
Fundraising efforts have been boosted by Meatballs fame, but the sanctuary has been stuck at about $105,000 for weeks now.
Meatball has been living in a 15- by 20-foot quarantine cage for months now.
He was supposed to move into a larger, temporary area adjacent to another male bear weeks ago, but construction has taken longer than expected.
However, the sanctuary has started to clear trees to build the new habitat and is working with an architect and contractor to complete a blueprint, spokeswoman Jen Jenkins said.
The sanctuary is continuing to take donations at its website, lionstigersandbears.org.
It's currently offering a holiday ornament featuring Meatball in a photo-shopped Santa hat for $5 each.