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Otis tops Fat Bear Week for the 4th year

Alaska's brown bears fatten up for the winter, eating salmon at Brooks Falls.
Alaska's brown bears fatten up for the winter, eating salmon at Brooks Falls.(Source: Katmai National Park/Twitter)
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 7:54 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A now four-time rotund champion of stocking up for winter has once again claimed the top spot in this year’s Fat Bear Week.

Created and hosted by Explore.org, Fat Bear Week pits the chunkiest of brown bears that frequent Katmai National Park and Preserve against each other through a public vote in an effort to find the one that’s put on the most pounds ahead of winter hibernation.

The park announced Tuesday on its Facebook page that Otis, bear No. 480, had claimed first place this year. Otis had won the competition three times previously — in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

“The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final matchup of #FatBearWeek 2021,” the park’s online post read. “480 Otis can now boast a bevy of bests with this famed fourth 1st place finish.”

Otis had been up against bear 151, Walker, in the final round of the competition in which people vote for their favorite furry member of the ursidae family. Several rounds of voting began on Sept. 29.

The event features some of the most-loved bears from Katmai National Park and Preserve and showcases them as they bulk up on salmon in Brooks Falls. Otis is described as one of the oldest known bears in the park that returns to feed at Brooks Falls.

“Otis rarely makes an effort to chase salmon like younger, more energetic bears,” Explore.org’s bear description page reads. “Once access to his preferred fishing spots becomes available, he takes advantage of the opportunity while expending little energy. While Otis occasionally appears to be napping or not paying attention, most of the time he’s focused on the water, and he experiences a relatively high salmon catch rate as a result.”

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