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Bear known for trouble in California now at Colorado sanctuary

"Hank the Tank" was well-known for break-ins but is getting a second chance and will live out her days at a Colorado sanctuary.

SPRINGFIELD, Colorado — A bear known for its brazen break-ins in the South Tahoe Area of California has been relocated to an animal sanctuary in Colorado.

The bear officially known as 64F, and known to Californians as "Hank the Tank," was connected by DNA to 21 home invasions in that 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.

RELATED: California authorities capture suspects in break-ins at Lake Tahoe homes: a mama bear and three cubs

The department updated its black bear policy last year, and it now allows for placement and relocation of conflict bears in limited circumstances when other management options have been exhausted and as an alternative to euthanasia. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) approved the moving of the sow to The Wild Animal Refuge near Springfield. 

CPW has the authority to approve only one placement, CDFW said, and they're using that authorization for "Hank the Tank." 

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 that 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 as well as the people in the South Lake Tahoe community.

RELATED: Notorious California bear to be relocated to Colorado

The sow's three young cubs, which 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. All three will be given a health assessment before they are transferred. 

Wildlife officials captured mama bear and her cubs late last week.

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