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Notorious California bear to be relocated to Colorado

The bear is known as "Hank the Tank" to residents of the South Lake Tahoe area in California.

DENVER — A bear who ran afoul of the law in California will soon begin a new life in Colorado.

Officially named 64F but known to locals as "Hank the Tank," the notorious bear is connected by DNA evidence to 21 home invasions in the South Lake Tahoe area between February 2022 and May 2023, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). She's also suspected in additional break-ins and property damage.

The department said its updated Black Bear Policy, released in 2022, allows for the placement and relocation of conflict bears in limited circumstances when other management options have been exhausted and as an alternative to euthanasia. 

>VIDEO ABOVE: Despite recent headlines, bears aren't Colorado's most dangerous animal

Now, with the blessing of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the sow will be relocated to The Wild Animal Refuge near Springfield. 

CPW only has the authority to approve only one such placement, CDFW said, and they're using that authorization for this bear. California wildlife officials said relocation is not typically an option for conflict animals over concern that relocating an animal will only relocate its behavior to a different community. But the agency said given the widespread interest in 64F and the significant risk of a serious incident involving her, CDFW is turning to an alternative solution to safeguard the bear family as well as the people in the South Lake Tahoe community.

The sow's three young cubs, which have accompanied her on recent home break-ins, will potentially be relocated to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, a CDFW-permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility in Northern California. The hope is that they can put a stop to the negative behaviors the cubs learned from their mother and return them to the wild. CDFW said one of the cubs is believed to struck and seriously injured by a vehicle but is still mobile. All three will be given a health assessment before they are transferred. 

CDFW said wildlife biologists captured 64F and her cubs Friday morning. CPW said she has cleared medical examinations and permitting by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. It's not clear when she will be transferred to her new home.


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