Enormous bear dubbed 'Hank the Tank' on the run in California

23 February 2022, 13:43

Hank the Tank has been terrorising residents in their homes
Hank the Tank has been terrorising residents in their homes. Picture: Facebook/Lake Tahoe BEAR League

By Asher McShane

Police are hunting a 37 stone (500lb) bear who has broken into dozens of homes in California.

The hefty black bear, dubbed Hank the Tank by residents is being hunted across the entire US state after breaking into as many as 30 homes in search of food.

Over the spate of seven months over 150 sightings and incidents have been reported.

In an incident on Friday, the bear smashed a window and broke into a house in Tahoe Keys in South Lake Tahoe while the residents were at home, according to CBS Sacramento.

This video was taken by a security camera on Balboa Drive in the Tahoe Keys this past Thursday afternoon. Obviously,...

Posted by BEAR League on Sunday, February 20, 2022

Police banged on the outside of the house until Hank left through the back door and disappeared into nearby woodland.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) said there have been no direct attacks on humans or pets reported yet.

The CDFW said more than 100 individual reports of the bear had been received by South Lake Tahoe police.

CDFW spokesman Peter Tira told CNN the department has been tracking incidents with this black bear since spring of 2021.

According to the CDFW, Hank no longer has any fear of people, and is associating people with access to food.

His huge bulk means he can break into homes easily by simply pushing through front doors or garage doors.

Officials want to capture the bear with one housing association's spokesman in the area saying shooting the bear would only be a "last resort."

The CDFW told NBC News "this bear is extremely food-habituated and has used its immense size and strength to break in and through front doors and garage doors.

"While the Lake Tahoe area has a healthy and dense bear population, euthanising an animal is always our last option.

"CDFW is currently evaluating the possibility of placement of this bear when captured."

The Lake Tahoe Bear League posted online: "For Hank.... Long may he Live." They want the CDFW to capture and release the bear and ensure his safe return away from people's homes.

BEAR League Director Ann Bryant said: "As everyone knows, Hank is being targeted for death by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

"The BEAR League is vehemently opposed to this plan, and we are frantically working to save his life by reaching out to various wildlife sanctuaries in hopes of finding him a safe home.

"Hank hangs out in the Keys quite often because he has been continuously rewarded with food stored in unsecured garages (the Key’s management has not allowed bear boxes because they deem them ‘unsightly’).

"As Hank grew to his current enormous size---as you can tell, he eats well---he started going into houses, first by entering through unlocked doors and windows and then by using his size to easily push those barriers out of his way.

"He can no longer be allowed to remain free, clearly. Thank you, Everyone, for caring so deeply about this friendly big bear."