A traditional black bear is nothing to be trifled with. Bears are immensely powerful, highly territorial animals. Luckily, most of them at least understand that it’s best to stay out of human settlements, and don’t bother us without a good reason. However, over in California, there is one bear that has completely abandoned his fear of mankind. All he wants… is snacks.
A gigantic bear, estimated to weigh around 500 pounds, has been terrorizing the suburbs of South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento for several months, breaking into residential homes in search of food. This bear has been nicknamed “Hank the Tank” by locals and is currently wanted for capture by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Hank’s prodigious size renders him impervious to nonlethal means of submission such as paintballs and tasers, and he is completely unafraid of lights and sirens.
“These are neighborhoods, there’s a lot of people around, traffic and cars. So, we have to do this in a way that is safe for both the public and the bear itself,” said Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira. “This is a severely food habituated bear. What that means is this is a bear that has lost all fear of people and it sees people and homes as a source of food.”
A black bear known as Hank the Tank has broken into more than two dozen California homes since July, officials say. Paintballs, bean bags, sirens and Tasers cannot keep the 500-pound animal from seeking leftover pizza and other food. https://t.co/um5y7p2B1L pic.twitter.com/ZlmmzqUVtB
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 21, 2022
Hank has been responsible for over 150 police calls, with his most recent escapade involving breaking a house’s window and climbing in. Police had to bang on the house’s outer walls until he finally left out the back door.
The Fish and Wildlife department is weighing a kill order in the interest of public safety, though the local Bear League have countered that killing Hank would be cruel and unnecessary, suggesting a sanctuary move instead. The two organizations will be holding a meeting on the matter this week.