KEENESBURG, Colo. - One of the bears known around Lake Tahoe as Hank the Tank is now settling into its new home: the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
And as it turns out, Hank is actually a she and is now called Henrietta.
"They called up, asked if we'd have room for her and I said we would," said the sanctuary's executive director, Pat Craig. "They explained that this is one of those bears that kept breaking into houses, and there was a lot of controversy around it. Obviously, there were quite a few break-ins."
In fact, DNA linked her and her cubs to dozens of break-ins over several years in the Tahoe area. But when she was captured, she was a far cry from the burly bear seen in pictures.
"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 Craig.
This explains the home break-ins.
Henrietta will spend the rest of her life in this sanctuary. As for her cubs, they were sent to a rehab facility in Sonoma County where they'll learn how to live in the wild.
"They realized the cubs were young enough that they could be rehabilitated, and odds are they won't break into houses in the future, so they made the decision to send her here and send the bears to a rehab facility," Craig said.
Henrietta's new home is huge, hundreds of acres, and she'll even have some new friends.
"It's a 230-acre habitat where there's a dozen or so other bears out there, so they'll be good friends. When they get their food delivered daily, they actually become very social and like to hang out together," said Craig.
When it comes to home break-ins and bears, it doesn't usually end well. Thankfully, this is one happy ending.
"Here she's got all the food she could ever eat, so she's actually going to be enjoying the friendship of other bears here," said Craig.
Wildlife officials say this is a good reminder for residents to bear-proof their homes and trash cans.
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