Fat and Fabulous: Alaska's National Park Names Fat Bear Week Champion
Wed, April 21, 2021

Fat and Fabulous: Alaska's National Park Names Fat Bear Week Champion

 

With a landslide win of 17,500 votes, Holly the brown bear was named this year's Fat Bear Week champion by Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. Holly was more than leading in the final round as her competitor, Lefty, gathered merely 3,600 online votes.

"She is fat. She is fabulous," the park wrote in a Facebook post, in which they crowned the bear as the winner. "All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence."

Katmai National Park and Preserve have been celebrating Fat Bear Week for five years to honor the bears living in its Brook River. The park celebrates the mammal as they stuff themselves with summer food in preparation for winter, building up as much as they can before they hibernate.

 

Photo Credit: Katmai National Park and Preserve via Facebook and TIME

 

The park rangers release a March Madness-style tournament bracket each year and pit the fat bears against one another. This year, the park released the official bracket on September 24—choosing 12 bears "for their potential popularity and ability to eat salmon like their lives depend on it," TIME magazine reports.

Photos of the bears' girths were posted online to help the public decide which of them were "packing on the pounds" for winter through "likes." Those who win in the head-to-head matches advance to the next round until only one takes home the crown as the Fattest Bear. There's also a livestream that provides fans with front row seats as their favorites eat in the waters of Brooks Falls.

 

Photo Credit: Katmai National Park & Preserve via Facebook and TIME

 

The name of the celebration may seem off, but TIME says it is actually a celebration of the bears' natural weight-gaining process.

"There is no shame in winning this contest as large amounts of body fat in brown bears is indicative of good health and strong chances of survival," the National Park Service said in a news release.

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