UPDATE, Nov. 8, 2012: The eBay auction, which includes an ear tag and paw print from the SoCal bruin but not a lock of his hair as previously advertised, was live again on Thursday night, when bidding had reached $760.
Lions Tigers and Bears Sanctuary, where Meatball is living, released the following statement Thursday:
"Lions Tigers and Bears coorporated with the California Department of Fish and Game for the investigation of our Ebay ad this morning. We were unaware that it was a violation of the law to sell a lock of hair from a bear online. This was an open and closed investigation, and Lions Tigers and Bears has Fish and Game's blessing to put Meatball's ear tag and paw print up for sale on Ebay. We thank everyone for your continued support for fundraising of the new habitat for Meatball."
Meatball, the beloved bear who romped through San Gabriel Mountain foothill neighborhoods in search of delicious garbage, was the subject of an apparently brief fundraising campaign from the San Diego-area wildlife center where he now lives.
Fans of Meatball -- aka GlenBearian -- had a chance to bid on memorabilia via eBay, with the proceeds going to a new habitat for the bruin at Lions Tigers and Bears, a nonprofit sanctuary in Alpine.
But by Wednesday evening, the auction had been stricken from the website. Requests to the sanctuary for comment were not immediately returned.
While it was live, the auction noted that the items would be on sale through Nov. 16 and include Meatball's "210" ear tag, his paw print and a lock of his fur. Bidding began Wednesday and was at $250 by late afternoon.
Lions Tigers and Bears is also planning to sell a Christmas ornament with Meatball's likeness.
Jen Jenkins, spokeswoman for Lions Tigers & Bears, said the sanctuary has raised $105,000 of $250,000 to pay for Meatball's planned 4-acre habitat. His "safety bedroom," shown under construction below, is nearly complete, she said in an email.
Lions Tigers & Bears veterinarian Dr. Jane Meier examined Meatball, who was neutered and received bloodwork, parasite testing, a dental exam and a microchip implant.
The sanctuary reported that Meatball is about 5 or 6 years old, weighs 502 pounds, and "is perfectly healthy."
The wayward black bear was caught Aug. 29 after following a trail of french fries left for him by California Department of Fish and Game wardens.
Meatball had repeatedly raided neighborhoods in Glendale and La Canada Flintridge, from which he had been caught and twice returned to the Angeles National Forest.
He was transported south to Lions Tigers & Bears for what was at the time thought to be a temporary stay. Meatball's planned relocation to a Colorado sanctuary was halted by a state law prohibiting wild-born animals from being moved to such facilities.