A Glimpse Inside Fat Bear Week

Maria J. Danford

So several reasons to love fall — crisp air, colorful leaves, sweater weather conditions and of system, Body fat Bear Week! Each fall, the competition showcases chunky brown bears that are packing on kilos to get ready for wintertime hibernation. Brooks River in Katmai Countrywide Park, Alaska houses a massive population of these hefty bears where the competition takes position. Votes are cast on the internet for the fattest bear in a March Madness-fashion bracket and the audience assists decide on the final victor.

480 Otis was crowned this year’s chunky champion on Tuesday, among the twelve contestants who labored tricky to chow down just before wintertime. The 25-year-aged winner, who stands at all-around 1,000 kilos or 454 kilograms, took home the title for the fourth time considering that the get started of the competition in 2014. Usually, grownup male brown bears can weigh up to 1,two hundred kilos or 544 kilograms.

Body fat Bear Week remains a fall custom to unfold awareness of the brown bears’ experiences as they fight for food items and survival just before Alaska’s severe chilly season comes.

Significant History

Entertaining as the contest is for human beings, for the ursine individuals of Body fat Bear Week, attaining excess weight is essential for survival. In get to get ready for hibernation, these omnivorous giants attempt to maximize their overall body mass by eating and ingesting nonstop. All through the severe Alaskan wintertime, which can previous five to eight months, the temperatures are frigid and food items is scarce. The bears, of system, lie very low in their dens and rely on their very own overall body excess fat for survival. Gaining excess weight can also aid bears safe mating opportunities and allow the women to assistance the birth and expansion of cubs.

When it will come to their diet, these hefty animals will practically eat just about anything at all and almost everything that they can scarf down in the fall months. In get to fatten up, brown bears can eat up to ninety kilos of food items every single day! While their key nourishment will come from nuts, berries, fruits and leaves, bears will also dine on other animals which includes mammals, reptiles and fish. For the brown bears in Katmai Countrywide Park, which is home to much more bears than men and women, sustenance generally consists of salmon. Mike Fitz, a previous ranger at Katmai and the creator of Body fat Bear Week, clarifies that several of the Body fat Bear Week contestants feed on the readily available salmon at Brooks River among June and Oct. “Body fat Bear Week is an possibility to think much more about a healthier and effective ecosystem that supports the brown bears,” says Fitz.

Compelling Competitors

The 2021 Body fat Bear Week winner, 480 Otis, a medium-massive grownup male, was crowned as champion inspite of a tricky fight in opposition to his competitors. Usually, Body fat Bear Week is a one-elimination on the internet event in which twelve Alaskan brown bears in Brooks River are picked out to contend. Since many brown bears are current in the park, narrowing it down to just twelve contestants can be tricky. In accordance to Fitz, the bears are usually picked out by the park rangers, based mostly on a range of aspects these types of as their time of arrival at Brooks River. An early summer time arrival at the river makes certain that the bear is photographed just before and following their excess weight acquire. A persuasive storyline is also a driving issue when picking out a contestant. The audience loves to see a veteran bear with talent and resilience, like Otis, competing year following year.

Immediately after the bears are picked, the audience keeps voting for their beloved until finally a single bear is remaining standing. The competition is subjective, says Fitz, and the audience is encouraged to take into consideration several aspects when buying a winner, these types of as how substantially excess weight the bear has received more than the previous several months and their salmon capture fee. Other aspects include sympathizing with the overall health troubles of more mature bears or the problems of mom bears to acquire excess weight as they cope with the added obstacle of fending for their young.

Even with his more mature age, 480 Otis won the hearts of the group still once again. The bear, who also won the fatty title in 2014, 2016 and 2017, was initial spotted as a cub in Brooks River in 2001. In accordance to the bear’s bio, Otis competed with more youthful users although also experiencing many troubles. For case in point, he was missing his two canine enamel, a massive downside, as a bear’s enamel are essential for slicing by way of food items. Otis was spotted in the river later than typical this year, but still had a higher salmon capture fee.

151 Walker, a massive assertive grownup male bear, faced off in opposition to Ottis in the last round. Walker’s bio clarifies his amplified overall body sizing and assertive disposition. However, Otis took home the prize with 51,230 votes, beating Walker who had 44,834 votes. Even with all odds, his patience and knowledge won Otis the audience’s love and title as 2021’s Body fat Bear Week winner.

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