The people have spoken! The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final match of #FatBearWeek 2021. 480 Otis can now boast a bevy of bests w/ this fourth 1st place finish. As we celebrate, like a true champ 480 is still chowing down. pic.twitter.com/rLvm7pvGJW
Every year, a bevy of bears unknowingly compete in Fat Bear Week, a competition that pits them pound-for-pound to see who can win the hearts and minds of the internet. And, as the name suggests, also gain a substantial amount of weight in a short time. A bear named 480 Otis was crowned the winner of the 2021 tournament after earning a lot of support from people online. He beat out 151 Walker as the bulkiest brown bear at the Katmai National Park and Preserve in southern Alaska.
Fat Bear Week is hosted by Katmai National Park and Preserve as well Explore.org and the Katmai Conservancy. The groups use the viral bracket tournament as a means of highlighting both the park’s beauty as well as the bears who live there.
The bear’s internal clock has naturally lent itself to the creation of Fat Bear Week. Because they hibernate in the winter, they have to gain a lot of weight during the summer. They do this by gorging themselves on salmon in the Brooks River in order to prepare for months of starvation. Brown bears can pack on upwards of four pounds of weight a day.
Otis had an underdog story that’s hard not to root for. He’s believed to be around 25 years old, making him one of the older bears in the park. Otis came out of hibernation later than others, and he looked very thin. There were also health issues. “In particular, he is missing two canine teeth and many of his other teeth are greatly worn,” Explore.org noted. “Otis must also compete with younger and larger bears who want access to his fishing spots. Otis is more likely to be displaced by these bears than he is to displace them.”
When the 2021 competition was complete, Otis earned 51,230 votes in the final round, beating 151 Walker’s 44,834 votes. This makes Otis a four-time champion; he won the inaugural competition in 2014 as well as in 2016 and 2017.
Although he’s the winner, Otis is not stopping his quest to pack on the pounds. “As we celebrate,” Katmai National Park tweeted, “like a true champ 480 is still chowing down.”
A beloved brown bear named 480 Otis won the 2021 Fat Bear Week tournament.
Applause to all the bears, especially this year’s champ 480 Otis, the portly patriarch of paunch! 96,064 of you voted yesterday to make this a successful finale, befitting the festive fun of #FatBearWeek. Thanks to everyone who participated & supported the wonder that is Katmai. pic.twitter.com/nDRk0T63BW
He beat out 11 other bears with his final face-off against a formidable opponent named 151 Walker.
The climactic clash that culminates in the crowning of the king of the capacious creatures of Katmai! Can 480 Otis’ tummy topple 151 Walker’s whopper of a beardonkadonk in this epic battle of the bulge?
Last chance. Vote @ https://t.co/thJwxp9wuP til 5pm AKT/9pm ET. #FatBearWeekpic.twitter.com/4jo8vSrdqu