A giant 500-pound bear is wreaking havoc in California as it breaks into dozens of homes in his desperate hunt for human food, but luckily it hasn't harmed any humans. Despite breaking into more than 40 homes since July 2021 in search of human food, the 500-pound giant known as "Hank the Tank" is very much loved by locals.
The latest burglary in the city of South Lake Tahoe happened just last week when Hank entered a residential home through a window, according to a picture posted by the city's police department. Though many residents have come face-to-face with the giant creature, Hank is known in the area as a "gentle giant" who is constantly hungry.
Despite his harmlessness, authorities are determined to put a stop to the bear's wandering due to the property damage and fear he causes people. Peter Tira, who is with California's Department of Fish and Wildlife, told ABC7, "This is what we call a severely habituated bear, meaning this bear has lost all fear of people and it is associating people with food and food sources."
The department set up bear traps in the area, but they were removed due to the public's affection for Hank. Local residents, as well as authorities, have attempted to frighten Hank away with loud noises, paintball guns, and even tasers, but he continues to forage into homes.
The Bear League, a nonprofit wildlife rescue group, agrees that Hank needs to be stopped but does not want Hank to be killed. The group's executive director Ann Bryant said that the animal should be taken to a rescue sanctuary. "Everyone is expressing their horror over the plans to kill Hank," Bryant said on Facebook.
"We haven’t talked to or heard from a single person who thinks the bear deserves to die. After all, he is only answering the ring of the dinner bell, as all bears.". He went on to say that the authorities should try to find a safe home for Hank and not kill it.
According to a report by the New York Times, 'Hank the Tank' is a black bear and weighs 500 pounds but the giant has gotten so large not from his normal diet of berries but from eating food made for humans and it looks like he is very fond of human food.
The accessibility of leftovers and scraps has drawn Hank into places where food has been left out, places where the bear isn’t necessarily welcome. Hank is not the only one attracted to such leftovers, Yogi is another black bear from Lake Tahoe and it has damaged over 38 properties in the since past few months.