Giant bear called 'Hank the Tank' hunted after wreaking havoc in California city

Hank the Tank is being hunted by officials Credit: CNN

A 200kg bear known as 'Hank the Tank' is being hunted by US officials after wreaking havoc in a town in California.

The large black bear is estimated to weigh around 225kg and has broken into dozens of homes in South Lake Tahoe, a city that sits on the border with Nevada.

Locals are split over what to do about the bear, which has been living off food scavenged from humans for months.

The bear is wanted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has been attempting to track him and trap him for six months.

A spokesperson told CBS the bear has damaged dozens of homes and is responsible for more than 150 calls.

Spokesperson Peter Tira said: "These are neighbourhoods, there’s a lot of people around, traffic and cars. So, we have to do this in a way that is safe for both the public and the bear itself.

“This is a severely food habituated bear. What that means is this is a bear that has lost all fear of people and it sees people and homes as a source of food."

On Friday, Hank broke into a home through a small window, startling the homeowners who had no idea how to get him out.

Mr Tira said: “Officers responded and banged on the outside of the house until Hank came out the back door. They then stayed in the area to ensure he continued on his way without damaging or entering other homes.”

Local authorities are concerned the bear has become so accustomed to its lifestyle of urban living that it may have lost its fear of humans.

He may have also forgotten how to hunt, and is so overweight, even if he did remember, he may struggle to catch anything.

This has led the wildlife department to conclude the only thing they can do is trap and kill the bear, something that has angered locals.

Local campaign group, Bear League, has called for people to better bear-proof their homes and Hank be moved to an animal sanctuary rather than having him killed. They accept he would probably die in the wild.