Hank The Tank gets a reprieve: Proof he didn’t do it

A 500-pound black bear known as 'Hank the Tank'.
A 500-pound black bear known as 'Hank the Tank'.
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 5:29 PM PST
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOLO) -The DNA evidence is in: Hank The Tank didn’t do it.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife analyzed DNA samples from the latest bear break-in in the Tahoe Keys and determined it was not Hank the Tank, a well-known 500-pound black bear in the South Lake Tahoe area.

It was a female bear who did the latest break-in, and a series of break-ins attributed to Hank the Tank appears to be the work of three bears.

The bear break-ins have caused concern among some residents, leading to taking extra precautions like carrying horns to scare away bears.

So a plan to capture Hank the Tank and either euthanize him, relocate him or find a shelter for him is now off, the CDFW said.

The wildlife agency will return to the Tahoe Keys area at some time in the future with a plan to capture bears, take samples and give them an ear tag and release them into a suitable habitat and Hank might be rounded up in that program. But there is no program to target the Tank.

“It is critical that Tahoe Keys residents and everyone who lives or recreates in the Lake Tahoe Basin carefully store food and trash,” CDFW wrote. “Increasingly, CDFW is involved in bear/human conflicts that could have been avoided by people taking a few simple actions. Bears are primarily scent-driven when seeking food. Improperly stored human food and trash are likely attracting bears into this neighborhood.”

CDFW also encourages people to bear-proof homes, including using bear-proof garbage cans.

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