Please Meet Holly, Your Extremely Rotund Winner of Fat Bear Week 2019
*chanting* Fat bears, fat bears, fat bears.
Sure, food is nice. So is a quiet evening by the fire, the company of good friends, and knowing that you are loved and valuable. But such pleasures are farts in a bathtub compared to the great majesty of Fat Bear Week.
For those of you living in a fat bear-free world, Fat Bear Week is an awareness-raising initiative designed by Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska. Designed to put bears in the spotlight and draw international attention to the need to protect them, Fat Bear Week pits the Park’s bears against one another in a competition to see which is the most corpulent.
Internet users vote on which bear they prefer, and eventually, after days of fierce competition, one of the ursine giants takes out the top title, and is crowned Fat Bear Week’s star.
It’s like March Madness, basically, but instead of sports stars, it’s extremely chonky bears.
There’s a reason these bears are so chonky, too. Ahead of the long and gruelling Winter, the bears load up on fatty foods so as to give themselves energy reserves when they’re hibernating. It’s basically a way for them to make it through the hardest months of the year without needing to ever emerge from their dens, and involves taking on a staggering amount of protein. Mainly salmon, apparently.
But although all of the bears in the Katmai National Park & Preserve did an excellent job of loading up for Fat Bear Week 2019, it was Holly who came out on top.
And decisively. Her competitor for the crown, a grizzly named Lefty, scored a mere 3,600 votes, while Holly racked up 17,500. A huge number of votes for a huge bear, clearly.
“It was very hard to get a good picture [of Holly] out of the water,” one of Katmai Park’s rangers told NPR. “She was a submarine for the entire month. She did not stop fishing, except to dig a belly hole big enough for her to sleep in.”
Feast your eyes on your queen in all her glory below: