KING SALMON, Alaska — A bear that shares his identification number with a type of jet airplane was crowned the winner of “Fat Bear Week 2020.”
Bear 747, at an estimated 1,400 pounds, bested 11 other bears in this year’s contest run by the Katmai National Park and Preserve. The runner up was “Chunk.”
Bear 747, when first identified in 2004 as a young cub, was unable to find a place at the preferred fishing spots. Over time he gained size and became an efficient angler who is now often found fishing for sockeye salmon in the jacuzzi near Brooks Falls or a far pool at the park. His dominant size alone is now enough to keep other potential challengers away.
“This year he really packed on the pounds,” the park said in a news release. “Looking like he was fat enough to hibernate in July and yet continuing to eat until his belly seemed to drag along the ground by late September.”
The fatter the bear, the more healthy they are when they emerge from hibernation. They can shed up to a third of their body weight while waiting out the winter.
Katmai was established as a park in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region. The preserve is now home to thousands of brown bears and a healthy run of sockeye salmon.
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