400-pound Bear Hank Captured After Lake Tahoe Break-Ins

On Friday morning, a 400-pound black bear known as Hank the Tank was “safely immobilized” by tranquilizer dart and arrested by state officials; he had been one of the most frequent thieves in the South Lake Tahoe, California, area.

DNA evidence linked the seized bear to at least 21 burglaries and substantial property damage in Tahoe Keys dating back to the beginning of 2022, according to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The bear is being moved to a Colorado animal refuge this week.

The public first believed “Hank the Tank” to be a single male bear based on visual evidence gathered during a series of rummaging and ransacking activities beginning in 2021. However, the female bear arrested on Friday, which has been identified by the state as 64F, is one of three bears suspected of carrying out the burglaries in the region that had previously been ascribed to Hank.

The tweet below verifies the news:

Department spokeswoman Jordan Traverso remarked, “I guess technically they are all Hank the Tank.” She claims that the “other Hanks” have not “presented themselves as problems” in the gated enclave of Tahoe Keys, located around 190 miles northeast of San Francisco, this year.

But this female Hank was out and about, and “exceptionally large,” as the state’s wildlife officials put it. Over the course of more than a year, this Hank terrorized the neighborhood, eliciting hundreds of reports to the police for breaking and entering, stealing, and other misdeeds. Ms. Traverso claimed that Hank had removed siding from a nearby house so that she could get beneath it.

Bears are “incredibly adept with their hands,” capable of opening latches and doors, Ms. Traverso explained. “They know what refrigerators look like, and they know what’s in them.” The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that black bears in the Pacific Northwest weigh between 100 and 300 pounds on average.

Here are some links to more articles from the California Examiner that you may find interesting:

Hank discovered through scavenging that she had easy access to thousands of calories at once. The mother and her three kids were captured on Friday, with one of the cubs suspected to have been critically hurt by a vehicle during a previous break-in.

The state wildlife department plans to transport the three cubs to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, located about 200 miles west of South Lake Tahoe, in the hopes that they can be rehabilitated there. The agency has stated its intent to return the cubs to the wild.

This week, their mother will be sent to the Wild Animal Sanctuary close to Springfield, Colorado, where she will have access to a 300-acre habitat quite similar to the one she was accustomed to in California. Founder and director Pat Craig stated, “The only difference is, we deliver the food,” adding that Hank was anticipated to arrive at the refuge on Tuesday.

400-pound Bear Hank Captured After Lake Tahoe Break-Ins

Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, posted a social media message welcoming Hank to the state, noting that she “turned out to be Henrietta the Tank.” Mr. Craig remarked that the circumstances surrounding Hank were “pretty rare,” as most “problem bears” are euthanized. In the United States, he said, “anywhere from 300 to close to 1,000″ are killed annually.

Given the enormous interest in this bear, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sought “an alternative solution” for the bear they call 64F or Hank, according to their statement.

The ideal situation for wild animals, according to Ms. Traverso, is for them to “remain wild forever.” She advised residents of bear country to keep their trash indoors, pick up fallen fruit, and not leave bird feeders out. We are the “controllable factor,” she argued.

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