It’s official, the votes are in: 747 is Katmai National Park’s 2020 Fat Bear champion.
Facing off against the other finalist, “Chunk,” on Oct. 6, the victory drew the Alaska park’s Fat Bear Week to a close.
The annual single-elimination tournament celebrates the success of the bears at Katmai National Park’s Brooks River in preparing for winter, with the public deciding who is the fattest bear.
Essentially, for each set of two bears, the public votes for one they think is the fattest. The bear with the most votes advances, until only the champion remains.
Why the fattest bear?
“Each winter, curled snug in their dens, brown bears endure a months-long famine. During hibernation, bears will not eat or drink and they will lose one-third of their body weight,” explains the conservancy’s website. Because “their winter survival depends on accumulating ample fat reserves before entering the den … Katmai’s brown bears are at their fattest in late summer and early fall after a summer spent trying to satisfy their profound hunger.”
While adult males need to dominate the best fishing spots and secure mating opportunities, female bears gain weight for their own survival and to support their cubs. Bear cubs experience the same hunger as older bears but also undergo tremendous growth spurts. Juvenile bears living on their own for the first time must navigate a gauntlet of hazards to establish a home range and find food without mother’s guidance.
You can even watch the bears for yourself via live feed at the river … at least until they head for hibernation.
Donate to the Otis Matching Fund
Until Saturday, Oct. 10, donations to the Otis Matching Fund will be matched, up to $50,000 to benefit the Katmai Conservancy, supporting research and protection of the park’s bears.
Named for one of the park’s most enduring presences at the river, “The Grand Old Man has been in his office at the base of Brooks Falls for many years. His finely honed gastronomic talents have amazed both man and beast. Otis is truly one-of-a-kind, a Bear among bears.”
The Otis Fund directly contributes to the mission of Katmai Conservancy supporting Katmai National Park and Preserve – supporting education, interpretation and youth engagement, research and protection of the park’s bears, and of the region’s extensive cultural history, and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the fragile Alaskan ecosystems.
Donate through the Katmai Conservancy website, the Facebook fundraiser, or using the conservancy’s YouTube donate button. To learn more about Otis, Bear 747 and their fishing pals at Katmai Park, visit katmaiconservancy.org
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