There’s simply nothing cuter than a chunky animal, except maybe a chunky baby leg. If only everyone thought there was nothing cuter than a chunky thirty-year-old, then I could eat all the peanut butter and ice cream I want!
But I digress. This isn’t about plump people, it’s about some of the chunkiest bears you’ve ever seen – and, boy oh boy, are they cute!
The Katmai National Park, located in Alaska, is keeping track of their biggest chunk of fluffs by hosting an annual Fattest Bear Competition.
If you’re thinking these bears look a bit unhealthy, keep in mind that it is important for bears to chunk up in preparation for winter hibernation. They need every layer of fat possible so that they don’t starve themselves while enjoying their long winter snooze.
Workers at Katmai National Park had the excellent idea to host this competition as a way to educate the masses while celebrating some of their cutest chonky bears.
There are a lot of brown bears that call the Katmai National Park their home. Yet, this year’s favorite Fattest Bear went to 435 Holly.
“She is fat. She is fabulous. She is 435 Holly. And you voted her the 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion. All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!”
On their Facebook page, the park posted comparison pictures of the bears before and after bulking up for winter. They encouraged their followers to vote for their favorite chonks in order to declare a winner.
Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 in an effort to preserve the beloved Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which spans an incredible 40 square miles and contains a 100 to 700 foot deep ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano in 1912.
Katmai become a National Park in 1980. It remains famous for its remote wilderness, volcanoes, brown bears, and pristine waterways bursting with fish.
Situated along a rugged coastline, there is evidence of Alaska Native culture here dating back nearly 9,000 years.
Not only is Katmai Park known for their Fattest Bear contest, but in addition, they have an awesome bear cam that allows you to watch the brown bears living their best life from anywhere.
The Park installed the cameras by the Brooks Falls Wildlife Viewing Platform at Brooks Camp.
The best time to watch the live cam is during the months of June and July. This is when the salmon are most active, and the bears are out feeding.
On a good day, you might see as many as 25 bears on camera at the same time.
Grazier is another winning bear – this is him before and after his summer salmon feasts.
Prior to entering hibernation, bears eat non-stop to gain enough weight to sustain a foodless winter – this process is technically known as hyperphagia.
By the time winter rolls around, the average male brown bear can weigh around 1,000 pounds and the average female can weigh around 400 pounds.
During peak season, brown bears can gain as much as four pounds of weight per day.
Not all of the bears have names, but that doesn’t stop them from competing in the fat-fueled fun. Here’s contestant #402…
Little ‘482 Light Cub’ did a lot of chonking up as well, making his way into the competition for the first time.
He’s looking a little scrawny as of late-June…
But he’s mighty plump by September!
Brown bear #503 went from slim and trim to round and ready for winter!
Bear #747 showing off its newfound curves
While all of the bears did a great job plumping up for the winter, there could only be one winner.
Chubby girl #775 competed with Holly in the finals…
But Holly took the cake for Fattest Bear!
Queen Holly is one big mama bear!