Critters: Hank the Tank - Update on the April 2022 piece

Remember Hank the Tank, the terror bear of Lake Tahoe? The Sandpiper wrote about Hank, thought to be male, who broke into homes in Tahoe Keys, a gated community, and figured out where the food was and ate it—some 21 DNA-confirmed times in 2021 and 2022. Hank, AKA 64F to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, weighing in at 400 pounds, some 100 pounds more than the high average weight of a black bear, was “safely immobilized” by tranquilizer dart. As the story goes Hank may be one of possibly three house wrecking bears.


But the story goes on. Turns out Hank is a she and the mother of three cubs, her sometimes accomplices in ripping off doors of the homes for entry and access prior to opening the refrigerator doors to check out the choices of their dine in options. Eating the stash of concentrated calories in a kitchen beats foraging for food in the wild though it does add to the waistline.


The captured Hank, the momma bear, is off to a 300-acre habitat in Colorado where food will be delivered to her. Nonetheless anyone living near the habitat—or wherever bears roam—is urged to tightly secure their garbage, to pick up any  fruits on the ground and to skip the bird feeders.


The three cubs will stay local. They will grow up learning how to survive outdoors without kitchens at a wildlife rescue facility west of south Lake Tahoe and, in time, be released back into the wild.