Who is 'Hank the Tank'?  Thieving 500-pound bear causing controversy in California community

Who’s ‘Hank the Tank’? Thieving 500-pound bear inflicting controversy in California neighborhood

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LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) – Hank the Tank is larger than the typical bear.

Weighing 500 kilos, the black bear was nicknamed by the South Lake Tahoe Police Division for its monumental dimension, partly achieved by breaking into dozens of properties and feasting on householders’ groceries.

The California Division of Fish and Wildlife is contemplating its choices for the way to deal with Hank.

The bear is beloved by many longtime native residents who imagine within the significance of co-existing with all of Tahoe’s wildlife.

“He is well-known. We’re making an attempt to avoid wasting him, despite the fact that he is a troublemaker,” Lake Tahoe resident Deanne Belardino informed KRON.

Hank the Tank has damaged into 28 properties and prompted greater than 100 calls to police over the previous seven months. The bear was recorded lumbering round by a house safety digital camera within the Tahoe Keys neighborhood final week.

CDFW officers stated the bear doesn’t worry folks and is classed as a “severely food-habituated bear,” which means it’s associating folks with entry to meals.

Hank the Tank has damaged into dozens of properties in South Lake Tahoe to feast on the householders’ groceries. (BEAR League; Lake Tahoe PD)

Some locals imagine the bear shouldn’t be solely fearless but additionally pleasant.

“He hasn’t damage one human in 28 break-ins. He is very candy,” Belardino stated.

“He likes pizza greater than he likes berries. He is not a forager,” she added.

State wildlife officers arrange a bear lure, and followers of Hank the Tank are frightened that CDFW will kill the bear.

“Hank is being focused for loss of life by the California Division of Fish and Wildlife,” wrote Ann Bryant, director of the BEAR (Bear Training Aversion Response) League. “The BEAR League is vehemently against this plan, and we’re frantically working to avoid wasting his life by reaching out to numerous wildlife sanctuaries in hopes of discovering him a protected residence.”

The bear’s housebreaking profession started when Hank discovered that some householders go away home windows and doorways unlocked.

“Hank hangs out within the Keys very often as a result of he has been repeatedly rewarded with meals saved in unsecured garages. The Key’s administration has not allowed bear containers as a result of they deem them ‘ugly,’” Bryant wrote.

When the bear grew to become larger and bolder, it began smashing via home windows, utilizing its dimension to bulldoze into properties.

Law enforcement officials just lately noticed Hank inside a home in South Lake Tahoe.

“He shattered a window and crawled in, inflicting tons of harm to the within and outdoors of the home. That is changing into widespread for him,” Lake Tahoe police wrote.

State wildlife officers haven’t disclosed their closing resolution for Hank’s future.

Lake Tahoe (Photograph by Sean Gallup / Getty Photos)

Belardino stated nearly all of Lake Tahoe residents are hoping that Hank will likely be despatched to a sanctuary and never euthanized.

Bryant informed KRON on Monday that, to date, the CDFW has been uncooperative with sanctuaries providing to assist.

“The BEAR League has talked to the administrators of three sanctuaries who’ve informed us they’re keen to work with the DFW and, hopefully, assist get Hank off the streets and into a superb residence. We’ve got given this info to the supervisors throughout the DFW who’re tasked with trapping and killing Hank. To this point, they haven’t reached out to any of the sanctuaries to debate this dire state of affairs,” the BEAR League wrote.

The Lake Tahoe Police Division trains its law enforcement officials on the way to correctly scare a bear.

Police tried to “haze” Hank with deterrents to scare him away, however the large bear was not fazed sufficient to go away the Keys neighborhood.

“Our officers are educated to make use of deterrents comparable to loud sirens, dry-firing their tasers (makes a clicky-clack noise that the bears hate!), and beanbag rounds to remind bears that it is not very good to interrupt folks’s property! We would like them to return to their properties within the forest,” LTPD wrote.

The bear’s fanbase has grown resulting from latest publicity in The New York Occasions.

“The telephones on the BEAR League have been ringing repeatedly with calls from actually all around the world. Everyone seems to be expressing their horror over the plans to kill Hank,” Bryant wrote. “Thanks, everybody, for caring so deeply about this pleasant large bear.”

The DFW’s most up-to-date Hank the Tank information launch learn partially: “When combining CDFW information with info from native police companies, CDFW has 152 experiences of battle conduct from this animal. This bear is instantly identifiable resulting from its exceptionally massive dimension and darkish coat with lighter muzzle. Moreover, CDFW has collected the bear’s DNA and created a DNA profile to permit for one hundred pc correct identification of the bear.

“Whereas the Lake Tahoe space has a wholesome and dense bear inhabitants, euthanizing an animal is all the time our final possibility. CDFW is presently evaluating the potential for placement of this bear when captured. As detailed in our just lately up to date Black Bear Coverage in California, there are a number of necessities that have to be met to think about placement of a wild grownup black bear,” it continued.

The CDFW stated black bear placement might trigger “important unfavorable penalties on their psychological well being.”

“To cite from our Black Bear Coverage: ‘Grownup bears could also be poor candidates for placement as a result of continual stress of adjusting to captivity after residing in solely wild situations,’” ​​it stated.

The CDFW stated placement services are required to be accredited and have vital state and federal permits and meet its high quality requirements. It added that it had not but discovered placement for Hank that met the Black Bear Coverage standards.”

The CDFW has requested the general public correctly retailer meals and rubbish to discourage bear exercise.