Celebrating the Beauty of Fat Bears 

A fat fall bear is a healthy bear.

Thanks to friend-of-the-site Alex S., I can bring you news of the fall’s most important playoffs: Fat Bear Week. Some of the largest brown bears on Earth make their home in Katmai National Park, Alaska, and all summer long, they gorge on salmon. Unlike human gurgitators, these bruins aren’t eating for sport. Instead, they need to fatten up to survive the winter.

As the weather grows colder, they are getting ready to hibernate in their dens where they will not eat or drink until spring. During the long Alaskan winter, they can lose up to a third of their body weight and survive solely on their fat reserves.

It’s an impressive spectacle to say the least, and thanks to the rangers at Katmai, it’s one folks can gamble on too. Alas, if you were hoping to get a March Madness style betting pool going this year, it’s too late. Sadly, Fat Bear Week 2021 has now concluded. With nearly 100,000 votes cast, Otis is this year’s winner:

This marks an astonishing fourth victory for Otis, with previous wins coming in 2017, 2016, and the inaugural 2014 contest. If my math is correct, he’s now won a full half of the Fat Bear championships. Let’s meet back here in about 50 weeks, to bet on whether he can claw down a fifth.