The votes are in and the fattest of the fat bears at an Alaska national park has been named.
This year, Bear 747 got more than 47,000 votes to be crowned the fattest of them all.
Thousands of people voted during Fat Bear Week 2020. Every fall, Katmai National Park and Preserve hosts its annual Fat Bear Week, an online tournament to honor the fattest of the fat bears.
“With sizes rivaling buildings, freight trains, and airplanes, these super-fat-bears will soon be turning in their proverbial capes,” the National Park Service said. “Their nemesis winter continues its inevitable march and though these bears have courageously consumed copious quantities of salmon to insulate, hydrate and sustain themselves, they will soon all find shelter for their long winter hibernation.”
In August, the park said Bear 747 weighed about 1,400 pounds last year and he’s likely even bigger now.
The massive brown bear is the biggest bear at the Brooks River, but this is his first reign as Fat Bear Week champion.
“This year he really packed on the pounds, looking like he was fat enough to hibernate in July and yet continuing to eat until his belly seemed to drag along the ground by late September,” the National Park Service said. “When asked what he intends to do now that he has won, the only response was a look before going back to fishing in the Jacuzzi near the Brooks Falls, one of his favorite fishing spots.”
A total of 12 bears competed in the tournament that ran from Sept. 30 through Oct. 6. More than 2,200 brown bears call the national park home, and it is “one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world,” the National Park Service said.
A fat bear is healthy. They fatten up as winter gets closer because they rely on their stored fat for energy, the Department of the Interior said. The fatter they are, the more likely they are to make it through winter.
“The majority of the weight is put on in the late summer once bears enter hyperphagia,” the Department of the Interior said. “Leptin, the chemical that tells the body it’s full, is suppressed which allows for the bears to eat until it’s time to sleep.”