Since last summer, a giant black bear known as Hank the Tank has been on the run from California cops for smashing into hundreds of houses in a Lake Tahoe neighborhood.
The bear burglar is significantly larger than the normal bear, weighing 500 pounds (227 kilograms), and appears to have missed hibernation throughout the winter due to a consistent food source.
Because the wild animal has become so accustomed to being around humans, authorities believe euthanasia may be necessary.
He should be transported to a sanctuary, according to environmentalists.
Hank acquired his moniker by barging into locked and inhabited residences with a need for food.
“It’s learned to utilize its size and power to push its way into homes,” says Peter Tira, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’ll smash its way through garage doors and front doors. It’ll be able to pass through windows.”
Hank is “readily recognisable owing to [his] abnormally enormous size and black coat with a lighter muzzle,” according to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. He has also been dubbed “King Henry” in the press.
Non-lethal bear “hazing” techniques such as bean bag munitions, sirens, and dry-firing police tasers (which “makes a clicky-clack noise that the bears despise”) have failed to scare Hank away.
According to the Bear League, a local animal conservation group, Hank grew to his current size (black bears weigh between 100 and 300 pounds) as a result of his voracious taste for human food.
They want Hank captured and taken to a sanctuary rather than murdered, and they want Lake Tahoe homeowners to be more diligent about safeguarding their food and trash.
“Unlike a lot of natural bears, he’s not surviving on insects and berries,” Mr Tira told reporters.
“There’s year-round availability to high-calorie stuff in Tahoe,” he says, “whether it’s leftover pizza, ice cream, or trash.” “It’s a lot easier to get that type of meal than it is to extract grubs off a dead log for hours.”
More than 150 calls regarding Hank have been received by officials. In the previous six months, he has broken into roughly 40 residences, inflicting significant damage in some cases.
After Hank’s latest break-in on Friday night, local Tim Johnson told CBS News, “I’ve been in town 40 years and I’ve started securing my doors recently and I’ve never done it.”
“The longer we don’t feed them, the less likely this is to be the case.”