In some truly bonkers news to round out your 2022 bingo card, a 225kg black bear named Hank the Tank has started both a manhunt (bearhunt?) and a local civil war over animal rights in California.
Hank the Tank, AKA the chonkiest bear maybe ever, is on the run from local authorities after ransacking multiple homes for but a crumb of pizza. Completely reasonable bearhaviour, in my opinion.
The beefy bandit is linked to damage at 38 different properties following his crime spree and according to wildlife authorities he’s been the cause of at least 150 calls between law enforcement and wildlife personnel.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) representative Peter Tira told a local television station that Hank caused “extensive property damage and forcefully entered several homes — including occupied homes”.
The occupied homes were wealthy Tahoe Keys neighbourhoods so actually, I think Hank the Tank said “fuck gentrification”.
Also, solidarity to Hank the Tank for plundering the homes of the rich. https://t.co/YEwxvxFxMd— Nick Estes (@nickwestes) February 21, 2022
Tira told The New York Times that the cheeky chonker is obsessed with pizza and hasn’t been dissuaded by any efforts from local police to scare it off with paintballs and sirens. So he’s ACAB too.
“This is a bear that has lost all fear of people,” Tira said.
“It’s easier [for him] to find leftover pizza than to go in the forest.”
Wildlife authorities have been trying to trap Hank to euthanise him because he’s apparently become too much of a threat, but that’s led to backlash from Lake Tahoe residents who reckon he’s harmless.
“He just sits there and eats,” bear activist group BEAR League’s executive director Ann Bryant said, per NYT.
“He doesn’t attack them. He doesn’t growl. He doesn’t make rude faces.
“Why should this big dummy die?”
if the world is against hank the tank, then I am against the world https://t.co/L2sEW3csgN— ravi high life (@cowtoolsexpert) February 21, 2022
Local Hank supporters have been trying to scare him away from traps by playing loud music, while others have spray painted “bear killer” signs.
Meanwhile, BEAR League is trying to work with CDFW to transport Hank to a sanctuary.
“The BEAR League reached out to the director of an excellent out-of-state wildlife sanctuary who agreed he has room and would be very willing to give this bear a permanent home,” Bryant said.
“We notified [the CDFW] on Tuesday morning asking that this option be seriously considered rather than killing the bear.”
That being said, Bryant reckons a sanctuary is a temporary solution, since Hank is a proven genius with a last for pizza that cannot be quenched.
“Homeowners and visitors need to do their part to keep the bears out of trouble so they can live wild and free,” she urged.
“The various reasons that the bears get into trouble is because people do this and they teach the bears that’s a good way to make a living.
“He didn’t get fat like that eating berries and grubs,” she said.