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22nd Feb 2022

Huge 500lb black bear nicknamed ‘Hank the Tank’ breaks into 28 homes to steal food

Charlie Herbert

Authorities launch effort to capture Hank the Tank

He’s been wreaking havoc since last July

Authorities in California have begun a special trapping effort to capture a 500lb black bear known as ‘Hank the Tank.’

According to authorities in South Lake Tahoe, Hank is “readily identifiable due to [his] exceptionally large size and dark coat with a lighter muzzle.”

The Washington Department for Fish and Wildlife says that on average western US black bears weigh between 100lb to 300lb.

Since July 2021, ‘Hank the Tank’ has broken into at least 28 homes in and around the Tahoe Keys area, causing extensive property damage.

And, in a very relatable description, he is said to be “extremely food-habituated.”

Along with the cases of breaking into homes, local residents have filed at least 102 police reports about the big boy.

Peter Tira, a California department of fish and wildlife spokesperson, told the New York Times: “It’s easier to find leftover pizza than to go in the forest.”

However Tira points out that it’s a “potentially dangerous situation” for the public because “this is a bear that has lost all fear of people.”

So far authorities have tried a whole host of techniques to keep Hank away from residential areas, such as loud sirens and creating a “clicky-clack noise that bears hate” by dry-firing tasers.

Ann Bryant, executive director of Bear League, a California-based wildlife rescue service said that it is not clear how Hank developed such a hankering for human food but that he didn’t get to 500lbs by “eating berries and grubs.”

As recently as last Friday (February 18), Hank managed to get inside someone’s home by squeezing through a window.

Authorities have said residents of the area can apply for a bear box to protect their food and belongings from Hank.

"Hank the Tank," our big bear friend who has adopted the Tahoe Keys neighborhood as his residential area, is trying…

Posted by South Lake Tahoe Police Department on Friday, February 18, 2022

They have warned that if efforts to trap Hank and remove him from the area continue to fail then they may need to euthanise the bear as a last resort.

This is something Bryant is against, pointing out that he “just sits there and eats.”

“He doesn’t attack them. He doesn’t growl. He doesn’t make rude faces … Why should this big dummy die,” she told the New York Times.

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