Hungry bear that loots houses finally caught


A black bear that has broken into dozens of homes in the South Lake Tahoe area in California in the USA since 2021 in search of food has been apprehended.

CNN reports that this hungry bear of almost 227 kg – known as “Hank the Tank” – was caught with her three cubs. According to wildlife officials, these cubs have recently started to follow in their mother’s footsteps and enter the houses with her.

State biologists plan to take the bear and her cub to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which spans more than 33,000 ha. This is done because of the danger she poses to the community. The cubs will eventually be released into the wild.

The cubs will possibly be moved to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, a rehabilitation facility in Pentaluma, “in the hope that they can stop the negative behavior they learned from their mother”.

One of the cubs is currently recovering from injuries that were probably sustained after he was hit by a car earlier this month.

Wildlife officials in California have been keeping a close eye on the bear since 2022.

RNews reported earlier that the bear had learned to use her size and strength to break into houses. She would break through garage doors, windows or front doors to get into the house.

CBS News reports DNA evidence has linked Hank the Tank to 21 home burglaries and she is suspected of damaging multiple properties and breaking into dozens of other homes.

The DNA tests identified at least four “Hanks” who wreaked havoc across a large area between Northern California and Nevada. At the time, the authorities had already linked the bears to around 150 incidents of looting, including break-ins and damage done to more than 30 properties in various parts of the region.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in California, relocation is not usually an option for conflict animals. “This is because there is concern that the relocation of an animal will transfer the conflict behavior to another community,” says the department.

“Given the widespread interest in this bear, and the considerable danger of a serious incident involving the bear, the department is using an alternative solution to protect the bear family and the people in the South Lake Tahoe community.”

Wildlife officials in California located Hank the Tank and her three cubs in March this year after they made a den for them under a house in the area.

The wildlife officers worked with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to temporarily immobilize the bear and attach an ear tag, tracking collar and microchip for identification.

Although she lost the tracking collar in May, authorities later located the bear again.