NEVADA – In a significant development, wildlife officials have successfully immobilized and captured the notorious South Lake Tahoe bear known as “Hank the Tank.” The massive 400-pound bear, whose DNA has been linked to a string of 21 break-ins and extensive property damage in the South Lake Tahoe area since 2022, was apprehended by wildlife biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on August 4.
Authorities revealed that “Hank the Tank” was safely immobilized during the operation. Pending a successful veterinary check, wildlife officials have obtained permission from the State of Colorado to transport the bear to The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Springfield, Colorado. This renowned sanctuary has agreed to provide care for the bear in its expansive facilities.
The decision to relocate “Hank the Tank” to a different state arises from the unique circumstances surrounding the bear’s extensive criminal activities. While relocation is typically not favored due to concerns about transferring conflict behavior, this exceptional case underscores the necessity of ensuring both the safety of the bear family and the South Lake Tahoe community.
Wildlife officials have also taken into custody the bear’s three young cubs, which had accompanied “Hank the Tank” during the recent break-ins. Plans are underway to potentially relocate these cubs to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue in Petaluma, with the aim of breaking the negative behaviors they learned from their mother and eventually reintroducing them to the wild.
One of the cubs sustained serious injuries after being hit by a car earlier this month, but remains mobile. The injured cub is set to undergo a comprehensive veterinary evaluation to determine its condition and potential treatment.
“Hank the Tank,” also known as Bear 64F, has been closely monitored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2022. In March of 2023, she and her three male cubs of the year were discovered denning under a residence in South Lake Tahoe. During this encounter, wildlife experts collected DNA evidence, attached an ear tag, and affixed a satellite tracking collar to the bear. Additionally, Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT tags), similar to microchips used in pet identification, were implanted in the cubs for future identification.
Although Bear 64F shed her satellite tracking collar in May, her DNA has been conclusively linked to 21 home invasions in the South Lake Tahoe area between February 2022 and May 2023. This bear has been strongly suspected of additional break-ins and property damage, making her capture a significant victory for both wildlife officials and the affected community.
As the investigation and subsequent actions continue, the South Lake Tahoe community and wildlife advocates eagerly await updates on the fate of “Hank the Tank” and her cubs.
Credits: Fox Reno
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