'Hank the Tank' the Black Bear Vandalizing Homes in Search of Food, Is Actually 3 Bears, Officials Say

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“Hank the Tank” in fact, is not the only name he goes by. He’s also been called “Yogi,” “Jake” and “Big Guy," a report said.

The 500-pound black bear known as “Hank the Tank,” whose trail of destruction can be traced through California and Nevada as he looks to feed his hungry belly, is not one massive bear but actually three bears, according to wildlife officials. 

“While recent incidents of bears invading homes were originally thought to be a single bear, DNA evidence collected from the most recent incident as well as prior incidents over the past several months prove that at least three bears were responsible for breaking into numerous residences,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.

In the coming weeks, CDFW said they plan to trap the bears in the South Lake Tahoe area, tag them, collect evidence for genetic analysis and then release them into a suitable habitat, the release said. 

No bears will be euthanized during their effort, the agency said.

In order to achieve their mission, the wildlife officials told the community they need their cooperation.

“CDFW must have the approval to place traps on private property and will need that access for this effort to work. Additionally, for traps to work, they must be left alone and not vandalized or harmed in any way,” the agency wrote. 

The agency also encouraged residents in the Tahoe Keys and Lake Tahoe Basin areas to store food and trash.

“Bears are primarily scent-driven when seeking food. Improperly stored human food and trash are likely attracting bears into this neighborhood. We all need to take all precautions to store food and trash properly to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and local bears,” officials said. 

The agency also plans to work with local government and homeowner associations to educate residents and visitors of Lake Tahoe about “bear-proofing" their homes, including making use of bear-proof garbage receptacles. 

The black bear population has tripled over the last three decades. 

More than 150 incidents were reported to law enforcement in Northern California and Nevada over the last few months, as residents complained to police that a bear broke windows, smashed down doors and ransacked their garages in their apparent search for food.

One caller told police that the bear had struck twice. Another caller spoke of her terrifying ordeal when she was enjoying the hot tub with friends outside her vacation home and the massive bear suddenly emerged.

“I was terrified. I was one of the moms dropping the drink, jumping over the fence, grabbing the kids,” the woman said. 

It turns out “Hank the Tank” is not the only name the bears have been called. They've also been called “Yogi,” “Jake” and “Big Guy," a report said.

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