California meets its new overlord, a 500-pound bear called Hank The Tank

Hank The Tank has been breaking into homes, stealing food, and resisting all arrest attempts

California meets its new overlord, a 500-pound bear called Hank The Tank
Hank The Tank pictured while rolling out to survey his domain. Screenshot: CBS Los Angeles

California has long anticipated the coming of Hank The Tank, a 500-pound black bear that’s begun making itself known as the true governor of the state by roaming around South Lake Tahoe and breaking into residents’ homes. For more than a century, the state’s flag has depicted a bear striding across a grassy landscape in a clear indication that an ursine ruler would one day come to claim its rightful titles and lands.

And now, with the arrival of Hank The Tank, that day is here.

The New York Times writes that King Henry Of California has been asserting his claim to the state since last summer. He’s broken into “more than two dozen homes to rummage for food” since July and was given his “Tank” title by locals for using “his size and strength to barge through garages, windows, and doors.” Hank, magnificent enough in stature to be the easy winner of an off-shoot Fat Bear Week 2022, has grown so big and mighty off the spoils of his campaign—eating so much delicious human-created trash and refusing to stop for winter hibernation—that he now easily outweighs other black bears from the region by hundreds of pounds. (The average weight of fellow bears in the region is about 100 to 300 pounds.)

California Department Of Fish And Wildlife spokesman Peter Tira said that Hank basically can’t be stopped by conventional means. Authorities have attempted to thwart his ambitions by “hazing” him “with paintballs, bean bags, sirens, and tasers” but he always returns because, as Tira puts it, “it’s easier to find leftover pizza than go in the forest.”

New approaches to capturing Hank are being considered. Many locals, having lived under Hank’s rule, want him to be taken to a sanctuary rather than allowing him to be killed, despite the fact that “all the sanctuaries are too full to take [him]” right now. Rather than endorse a lethal approach to this problem, though, a number of residents “want him to be treated with respect” and “are quick to point out that Hank is gentle and sweet.”

“He just sits there and eats,” one said when discussing Hank’s activities once he’s claimed a home for his own. “He doesn’t attack [people.] He doesn’t growl. He doesn’t make rude faces.”

[via Digg]

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