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Cubs of former Lake Tahoe bear "Hank the Tank" released back into wild after rehab stint

Notorious former Lake Tahoe bear Hank the Tank's cubs released into wild after rehab
Notorious former Lake Tahoe bear Hank the Tank's cubs released into wild after rehab 01:10

The cubs of the controversial Lake Tahoe bear formerly known as "Hank the Tank" were released into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains after they were sent to a rehab facility in Sonoma County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Hank, who now goes by Henrietta, was linked to many break-ins over several years in the Tahoe area. She was eventually captured in August 2023 and taken to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

"Fish and game said when they did catch her she was skin and bones, they could feel her ribs and backbone. So she was pretty desperate," said Pat Craig, the sanctuary's executive director. 

Henrietta will spend the rest of her time at the sanctuary, but her cubs were taken to a rehab facility in Sonoma County.

The three cubs, along with another bear that was abandoned by his mother in the Tahoe area, went to the rehab facility to break the habits their mother taught them. 

By the time of their release, they became wary of humans and ready to enter the wild again. 

When they were released, officials used nontoxic paintballs and airhorns and yelled to add urgency to the bears, making them uncomfortable and responsive to humans. 

Now, officials are tracking their locations thanks to collars on the bears. Those collars are programmed to fall off after nine months in the wild when officials will go retrieve and reuse them.

The bears will then become more suited for the wild, rather than residential areas of Lake Tahoe.

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