August 15, 2013

Mirth Watch Thursday: Lion Cubs, Meatball(s) and a Social-Networking Bear

So, while I was looking at old pics for yesterday's post, I came across a lot of old favorites... including some of these from when the hubs and I got to meet some lion cubs!
Bakari, Jillian, and Suri
We got to feed them...
They were hungry little kitties!

We got to play with them...

...And then they fell asleep on us.

It was So. Much. Fun! It was a special birthday present for the hubs at a big cat rescue outside San Diego - Lions, Tigers & Bears. They can tell you what they do better than I can (emphasis is theirs):
LTB is a "rescue facility dedicated to providing a safe haven for unwanted and abused Big Cats and other exotic animals.  We are a NO KILL, NO BREED, NO SELL rescue and educational facility that allows the animals in our care the opportunity to live out their lives with dignity in a caring and safe environment. There are countless unwanted, abused, and abandoned Big Cats in captivity that must endure horrific neglect and abuse due to the immense responsibility in their upkeep.  In many states, Big Cats are acquired and exploited  by the entertainment industry, purchased as pets or sold and bred for profit, eventually getting dumped and forgotten. Lions, Tigers & Bears, however, is one of very few accredited Big Cat Sanctuaries in the US with the goal of providing a safe, secure and happy home for these rescued animals.

"Our goal is not only to provide a safe haven for these rescued animals but to also educate the public about the growing population of abandoned and unwanted exotic animals and where they come from. Lions, Tigers & Bears is a place where children and adults alike can get a hands-on educational experience while better understanding why wild animals do not make good pets.  Visitors to Lions, Tigers & Bears should not miss the opportunity to visit our animal encounters, learn  about humane farming and participate in a hands-on animal internship."
A Bear with Way More Twitter Followers Than I Will Ever Have
When I went to the LTB site to copy the above info, I remembered that they have Meatball living there. Do you know about Meatball? He was the bear that made the news because he kept cruising into an L.A. 'burb, and stealing frozen meatballs out of someone's garage freezer.

You can learn more about him - and how he was saved by a social media campaign - in this short, cute video. Worth watching for this line alone: "This bear has been put in custody nearly as much as Lindsay Lohan." (Poor Lindsay...)

I learned while visiting the LTB site that Meatball is going to have his own float in the Rose Parade! What a riot. Now on NY's day, when you're watching the parade and you see that Meatball float go by, I want you to remember you heard it here first!

Obviously, it would be best if Meatball could be out in the wild, but an unhealthy obsession with meatballs is bound to get you into trouble. It's nice that there are special places like LTB that can help these animals when they get into a bad situation, like the cubs we got to meet, who came from an overcrowded facility that couldn't manage them.

Thanks to LTB we have a memory we'll never forget! 


  1. So funny...a passion for meatballs. Glad he was captured and saved. We hope he is doing OK in his new life. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I bet that was a really fun day!

    Many, many moons ago, fresh out of college, I worked for a portrait studio. Not for one of the chains, but a truly talented guy who opened his own business. So one day we book an appointment for this woman who raised the tiger cubs for a local Six Flags Safari Park. (They took the cubs away from the mother very early on to increase human bonding and decrease aggression.) She wanted to bring in her cub before she had to give him back to the park. Although the appt. was on my day off, you know I went in that day! I have the cutest pictures of me holding the cub up next to my face, with my finger in his mouth. Any time I tried to take my finger away, he would squirm and ROAR!. He was quite a handful and probably one of the most fun memories I have! A couple of weeks later, she brought in 2 or 3 lion cubs. For some reason, I don't think I got pictures with them......

  3. Meatballs? Hilarious! Loved the video and what a fabulous bday event for your guy :-)

  4. I love those lion cub photos. Ya, the bear doesn't stand a chance if he wants people food. At least he is in a safe place. So many bears have to be put down because people are careless and they get a taste for people food, like meatballs.

  5. Oh boy is my mom jealous! She would love to be with lion cubs. What a great experience!

  6. Fantastic photos! I And what a great idea to gift your hubs an adventure like that. When I think about the exotic animal problem, and look at my little unruly dog, I can't image the moment some person is like "Ok! We're getting a Tiger! I'll take feedings, you take poop duty." Thanks for bringing awareness.

  7. How fun is that!? My father was manager of the Children's Zoo here in San Diego for many years starting in the late 50's. Early on, there was no one to take care of animals overnight and my father would often go back to work to check on some creature too small to be left alone all night. On a few occasions, he brought an animal home with him. Once we had a lion cub named "Duke" spend several nights with us. We have just one photo -- my sister and I wearing scraggly morning hair and PJs, holding and petting Duke. Thanks for stirring up that fun memory.

  8. I never heard about the meatball bear. Too funny.

    How cool that you got to hang out with the lion cubs, and that they even took a nap on you! And so great that the organization is big into education. I will never understand why people want such animals as pets. Yes they are gorgeous, but they are wild animals.

    Get a dog. :-)

  9. OMG, those lion cubs are so ridiculously cute! And such sweet photos of you and hubs! What great memories!
    I had never heard about Meatball until now. I'm so glad that he was able to go to LTB instead of being put down. Who could blame the guy for pilfering the fridges? Meatballs are tasty business!

  10. Lions, Tigers & Bears looks like a wonderful organization. What an amazing experience to be able to feed and hold those lion cubs! Loved learning Meatball's story, too.

    Susan and Wrigs

  11. What a great experience and great memories. Beautiful pictures.

  12. What a wonderful place! I'm glad to hear there is a place like that. Those lion cubs are so adorable, what a great experience for you! That is certainly something you will never forget.

  13. Hi!
    Its an Amazing and informative post.
    Thanks for the amazing post. Would love to read more from you. Keep up the good work


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