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.
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.
Match 11: Lardaceous Leviathan Levels Chunky Challenger— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 7, 2020
The votes are in! You’ve crowned the Earl of Avoirdupois, bear 747, the 2020 Fat Bear Week Champion. No longer the runner-up, 747 fulfills the fate of the fat and fabulous as he heads off to hibernation.#FatBearWeek pic.twitter.com/NpyguJiZb4