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Tahoe bear “Hank the Tank,” accused of several break-ins, captured with 3 cubs

KIFI

By BRADY HALBLEIB

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    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, California (KOVR) — A bear that’s been causing a lot of problems in South Lake Tahoe has been captured along with her three cubs. This comes after years of bear break-ins in the Tahoe Keys area.

There is a lot of interest in what happens next to this bear — referred to as Hank the Tank — and her cubs, which is one of the reasons why she will not be killed.

To the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, she’s officially known as 64-F.

For the past two years, using DNA testing, she and her cubs have been linked to more than 21 break-ins, which have deemed her “problematic.”

“Twenty-one break-ins is really pretty significant, and it’s a very much learned behavior and it does not look like it can be rehabilitated,” said Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Jordan Traverso.

That usually means the bear would have to be put down, but based on the interest of the public, Fish and Wildlife worked out a deal with an animal sanctuary in Colorado where she will live out the rest of her life.

The cubs have a different fate.

“There’s no hope that we would be able to rehabilitate that sow, while there is hope we will be able to re-release those cubs into the wild,” Traverso said.

While the bear family will split up, the cubs will be sent to a rehab center in Sonoma County where they will learn how to live in the wild.

“Sanctuary life is not ideal,” Traverso said. “Getting them back into the wild is the best plan.”

It beats the alternative.

“This rarely happens,” said Anny Bryant, executive director of the Bear League. “Bears are not relocated, they are usually killed when they’re designated as problem bears.”

Bryant said this alternative is a gift.

“This is not going to happen every day,” Bryant said.

She said Tahoe residents must learn from it.

“They need to step up and keep bears out of trouble. Lock their doors, lock their windows, don’t let them in,” she said. “Don’t put bird feeders out. Don’t leave your garbage out or there’s going to be bears that are going to die.”

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