truth “Titan of Tonnage” The crown has been donned.
After a record-breaking week of voting, Katmai National Park and Preserve named 2021 Fat Bear Week none other than the original winner as champion – 480 Otis.
As hibernation and winter loomed in southwest Alaska, a week-long festival of bears poured in, with fans voting which bear they thought was the biggest of them all. This year, over 793,000 votes were cast during the week, breaking the previous year’s record of nearly 650,000 votes.
After a rough week of competition, 480 Otis defeated fellow big boy 151 Walker, also known as the “Baron of Beardonkadonk”, to become an unprecedented four-time Fat Bear Week champion. The 480 Otis was the inaugural Fat Bear Week champion in 2014, before winning back-to-back titles in 2016-17, and then taking the Chunky Crown once again this year.
The 480 Otis lost some heavy weight on his way to winning the competition, including Last year’s champion, 747. There is no real award for “Partly Chancellor of the Punch” other than global recognition, which he will probably never know about.
First identified by park rangers in 2001 when he was 4 years old, 480 Otis must have been raised there at age as brown bears usually live to be around 20–30 years, According to the World Wildlife Fund. Still, this old man has a few tricks in his fur.
While most of the majestic creatures in this year’s 12-bear tournament are among the most impressive in the national park—which could result in clashes over popular feeding spots—the 480 Otis avoids them all.
Instead of going after the salmon, the 480 just wait for the Otis to approach them. Even though he fishes “the occasional nap or isn’t paying attention”, 480 Otis still manages to eat it, as evident in his becoming the 2021 Fat Bear Week champion.
“He’s known to sit in his ‘office’ away in the fall. He just cools down there and waits for the fish to arrive,” Sarah Wollman, project and media manager for the Katmai Conservancy, told USA Today last week. “He really put on pounds this year.”
480 Otis is one of an estimated 2,200 bears who occupy the national park, which is a popular place for them to feed before winter Plenty of Sockeye Salmon. One fish can contain about 4,500 calories, and Cheryl Spencer, a ranger at the park, said it is important for bears to eat so much that they can lose up to a third of their body weight in hibernation.
More Fat Bear Week coverage: Know about this year’s competitors
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.