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The votes are in for Alaska’s fattest bear

Fat Bear Week 2020 is over, and whoa Nelly, this year’s winner is huge

SHARE The votes are in for Alaska’s fattest bear
In this photo taken July 17, 2012 and provided by explore.org, a brown bear catches a salmon at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park in Alaska. A new video initiative will bring the famed brown bears of the park directly to your computer or smartphone. In a

In this 2012 photo, a brown bear catches a salmon at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park in Alaska. The park recently announced the winner of Fat Bear Week 2020, which seeks to find the park’s fattest bear.

Tahitia Hicks, explore.org via Associated Press

Behold, your new champion.

Fat Bear Week, the annual competition by Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, has crowned its fattest bear for 2020. This year, the honor goes to a bear named “747” — just like the jet airplane — who clocks in at a whopping 1,400 pounds.

“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 park said.

Hosted at explore.org, Fat Bear Week has been an annual tradition since 2014, the Verge reported. The competition pits 12 of Katmai’s more than 2,200 brown bears against each other in a playoff-style bracket, with this year’s voting open to the public from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6. Voters were encouraged to pick whichever bear looked the fattest. The champion 747 tallied 47,300 votes, with his challenger, “Chunk,” getting approximately 21,900 votes.

CNN noted that park officials first identified 747 way back in 2004, but this was the first time he made it to the finals of Fat Bear Week.

This year, fans could check out the bears via a special online bear cam. And the park could gauge each bear’s actual weight using a 3D scanner — a first for the competition, the Verge reported.

Katmai National Park and Preserve is more than 4 million acres, and contains the world’s densest brown bear population, according to Reuters. The park’s bears can lose a third of their body weight during hibernation. So “the fattest bears are actually considered the healthiest, since it means they have a stronger chance of surviving the winter,” USA Today noted.

Katmai’s bears really thrived this year, thanks in part to a record salmon run, Reuters reported, and a sharp decrease in human visitors because of COVID-19.

Here’s to 747, and all his gloriously girthy challengers. Their hibernation is well earned.