A large black bear who is believed to be a notorious bandit and a hungry, uninvited houseguest was apprehended by wildlife biologists on Friday.

Authorities in the town of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., have been on the lookout for exceptionally large animals since February 2022, after they reported that one single, male bear had been the cause of “152 reports of conflict behavior,” including 28 home break-ins. They referred to the animal as “Hank the Tank,” setting off the internet’s affection.

But it turns out those initial assessments, based solely on visual information, were conflating three bears with a similar pattern of behavior — and incorrectly assuming that all of the bears were male.


DNA testing confirmed that the bear captured on Friday, who is formally known as Bear 64F, was a female behind at least 21 cases of breaking and entering. What’s more, she was trespassing with three young cubs in tow, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The agency typically euthanizes so-called “conflict bears” due to the significant risk they pose to the community. But Bear 64F is no ordinary conflict bear.

The more homes that were vandalized in the ritzy waterfront community of Tahoe Keys, about 100 miles east of Sacramento, the more the public came to the defense of “Hank the Tank,” blaming the bears’ behavior on unsecured garbage cans and habitat encroachment.