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Massive black bear Hank the Tank has finally been captured after invading 21 homes

Massive black bear Hank the Tank has finally been captured after invading 21 homes

The massive bear was DNA linked to more than 20 breaks in

Infamous black bear ‘Hank the Tank’ has finally been caught following a series of house break-ins across Tahoe in California.

DNA evidence was used to link Hank to break ins at a staggering 21 homes and ‘extensive property damage in the South Lake Tahoe area since 2022’, according to a release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

But now, Hank’s crime-spree is over after the bear was captured and is now headed for a wildlife sanctuary near Springfield, Colorado.

500-pound Hank - who despite the masculine name is actually a female, mama bear - was caught alongside her three cubs, which have been relocated to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, the CDFW said.

Jordan Traverso, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said: "Based on assessments of our veterinary staff, as well as our biologists, she has no fear of humans anymore, and she does not exhibit that she's scared of humans or human dwellings or human garbage.

Hank the Tank has been DNA linked to more than 20 break ins.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

"And so, not being a candidate for rehabilitation means that she'll be living out the rest of her life in that sanctuary environment. The cubs however, potentially could go back and be re-released into the wild."

Officials say that the bear will be separated from her cubs because she is not an ideal candidate for rehabilitation, unlike the younger bears.

Traverso added: "Because there was such a rap sheet, if you will, for her and she had these three cubs.

"Then, on July 21, one of the cubs was hit by a vehicle, and so we knew that we needed to get some kind of an assessment done of the situation. We did not want her teaching these cubs how to break into homes and we wanted to see if this cub was going to be alright."

Hank has finally been captured after more than a year on the run.
Bear League

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, which is just outside of Petaluma, is the perfect place for the younger bears as there is no interaction between humans and the animals, meaning that unlike their mom, the bears won’t become used to being around people and hopefully won’t turn to a life of crime like she did.

"The reason is that bears need to have a natural fear of humans so that they don't get closer to our houses and our garages and our orchards and all things," Traverso said.

"They need to stay away in order to stay safe and really, that's what the rehabilitation is all about."

Featured Image Credit: The Bear League / ABC 7

Topics: US News, Animals