A bear believed to be responsible for breaking into more than 20 homes in California’s South Lake Tahoe area has been captured and will be relocated to Colorado, wildlife officials announced.
The 500-pound female black bear, one of multiple bears identified by the public as “Hank the Tank,” was caught along with her three male cubs, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) said in a news release Friday. Hank has been blamed for dozens of home invasions, but DNA evidence showed more than one bear was responsible, CNN previously reported.
State biologists plan to take the bear, officially called Bear 64F, to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado, citing the danger of keeping her in the community. DNA evidence has tied her to 21 home invasions and she is suspected of causing property damage and breaking into several other homes.
“Relocation is not typically an option for conflict animals over concern that relocating an animal will relocate the conflict behavior to a different community,” said the CDFW.
“However, given the widespread interest in this bear, and the significant risk of a serious incident involving the bear, CDFW is employing an alternative solution to safeguard the bear family as well as the people in the South Lake Tahoe community.”
The cubs, who wildlife officials say accompanied their mother on recent home break-ins, are set to be moved to a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Sonoma County, with hopes that they will eventually be returned to the wild. One of the cubs is recovering from injuries likely sustained after being hit by a car earlier this month, according to authorities
Wildlife officials had been monitoring the bear since 2022 and found that she and her cubs made a winter den underneath a South Lake Tahoe home.