Future of popular bear statue in question

January 5, 2011 7:57:25 PM PST
A popular spot on the state capitol tour is in limbo. We're used to new governors bringing in new staff when they take office, but will "Bacteria Bear" survive the new Jerry Brown administration?

The 800-pound bronze statue of a grizzly bear outside the governor's office has become a celebrity itself. In fact, the $20,000 piece of art has become part of the Capitol tour since its arrival in the spring of 2009, after then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spotted it at an Aspen art gallery.

Lots of people have their picture taken with it, pet it and even hug it.

"For the little kids, it's scary, but for the bigger kids, it's really cool to us," Capitol visitor Sara Brink asid.

It is so popular, the CHP dubbed it "Bacteria Bear" and hand sanitizer was quickly put out nearby.

Capitol reporters called the bear 'Mic' because it was convenient place to put our microphones when waiting for Schwarzenegger to come out and talk.

Now that Schwarzenegger has left office, the fate of the bear is in limbo. Brown has not decided what to do, but does like what it stands for.

"I do like the symbol because it's on our flag and it projects the strength and determination and ferocity of what will be required in the months going forward," Brown said.

"I think they should keep it here because it's become a part of what the Capitol is," tourist Karina Escoveda said.

"I think it excites Californians, I think it's wonderful for children, I think the bear belongs here," worker Rita Sudman said.

But if the new governor doesn't want it, the local SPCA has offered to adopt it and it already has a spot for the bear.

"So that it would still be visible, the community will still have a chance to visit it and more importantly, while it's here they would have a chance to see other animals that might be able to adopt and take home," Sacramento SPCA spokesperson Rick Johnson said.

Moving it will be a bear; Maybe that is why Schwarzenegger left it behind.


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