An un-bear-lievably fluffy champ has been chosen.
The results are in, and the winner of 2021’s Fat Bear Week competition is 480 Otis, who has, for an unprecedented fourth time, been voted the chonkiest bear of them all.
Competition was thick, and the Baron of Beardonkadonk put up a fierce fight in Katmai National Park and Preserve’s week-long celebration of bear bulkage ahead of hibernation season. The Alaskan park’s popular online promotional event was born in 2014 as a single-day promotion before becoming an annual happening. Voting has gradually grown over the years, with a record 793,000 votes being cast in this most recent bracketed battle.
“The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final match of #FatBearWeek 2021,” Katmai’s Twitter announced Tuesday in a post that makes it self-evident why the event is so beloved and joy-sparking.
Veteran competitor Otis has been a known contender since 2001 when park rangers first identified him as a 4-year-old brown bear with great potential for extreme fluff. By this point an old-timer — brown bears only live to between 20 and 30 years old on average — Otis has remained a crowd favorite, not to mention a clever boy: He’s attained his competitive figure by honing his salmon-catching routine into an art, USA Today reported.
While other bears may attempt to attain such a physique as Otis’ by becoming territorial over popular feeding spots, Otis lets salmon come to him and is known to pretend to “be napping or not paying attention” while fishing for food.
“He’s known for sitting in his ‘office’ on the far side of the fall. He just chills there and waits for the fish to come to him,” Katmai Conservancy media manager Sara Wolman told the newspaper.
His 2021 effort appears to have been particularly successful.
“He really did put on the pounds this year,” Wolman added.