Meet 435 Holly, Queen of the Katmai Fat Bears

Elias Hubbard
October 10, 2019

The Katmai National Park and Preserve, which is located in southwestern Alaska, announced the winners of its Fat Bear Week, on Tuesday, NPR reported. It's important to note that bears do not subscribe to human society's restrictive and unobtainable standard of beauty, so a fat bear who is ready for winter is certainly a healthy and lovely bear. Her name is Holly.

After a week of fierce competition, southwest Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve named "Holly" as the fifth annual Fat Bear Week champion. Specifically, they help celebrate the bears as they pack on the pounds thanks to summer food, preparing for winter by eating everything they can to build up as much fat as possible before they hibernate, hence the title of Fat Bear Week. There were about 187,500 online votes cast in the 2019 competition, more than three times as many votes tallied in last year´s Fat Bear Week.

The winners move on to the next round; the losers are out. In a bracket determined by Facebook likes, 435 Holly dominated the competition, coming in at over 18,000 likes while 775 Lefty barely managed to crack 3,000.

And in the end, it was no contest.

The "Queen of Corpulence" took the crown after 12 hours of voting that landed her with 17,500 votes. "When she doesn't have cubs, she looks like the Michelin Man", said Naomi Boak who's been in charge of this year's Fat Bear Week event.

"It was very hard to get a good picture [of Holly] out of the water", she says, "because she was a submarine for the entire month".

Who was the Fat Bear Week victor in 2018? The Alaskan waterway has one of the largest concentrations of sockeye salmon in the world, and the bears there take full advantage.

Holly earned her place, too, according to Katmai Conservancy Media Ranger Naomi Boak.

"So they eat any and everything", Boak said. Normally they're there, gorging on salmon around the first of the month.

During their winter sleep, bears will usually lose around a third of their body weight. "[The bear's] heart rate lowers, the activity obviously is very minimal and it truly is just their body utilizing that fat to keep this baseline going". Devoted fans can even watch the brown bears eat via Katmai National Park's Fat Bear Week livestream .

It's Fat Bear Tuesday and you get to decide which hulking heavyweight will walk off with the championship title.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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