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America's Fattest Bear - Her Radiant Rolls

Every year bears must pack on 200-300 pounds to make it through a winter of hibernation. During hibernation, bears lose one-third of their mass. So how do they do it? Well, in early summer they begin to eat – and they begin to eat a lot. They actually eat one year’s worth of food in six months because they enter a phase known as hyperphagia, which is a chemical switch that turns off and no longer tells them that they are full. By fall, you no longer recognize them. At Katmai National Park and Preserve, however, they track these bear’s whereabouts and eating habits – watching in hilarious astonishment.

Allow us to show you some early summer and beginning of fall photo comparisons:

 Bear 856 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 856 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 854 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 854 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 719 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 719 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 480, “Otis” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 480, “Otis” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 32, “Chunk” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 32, “Chunk” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 435, “Holly” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 435, “Holly” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 435, Holly’s Cubs - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 435, Holly’s Cubs - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

As staff from Katmai National Park and Preserve track their bears whereabouts and eating habits, they generously share the progress with us! Every year they hold a “Fattest Bear Contect” via Facebook. You can vote for the fattest and your most favorite bear! #fatbearweek

They even have a bracket. This is serious stuff.

Bear Bracket.jpg

So who won 2018’s fattest bear week? Well, it came down to two contestants who ate their way to the top!

 Bear 747 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 747 - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

 Bear 409, “Beadnose” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear 409, “Beadnose” - Photo courtesy of Katmai National Park and Preserve

AND… Bear 409, “Beadnose” for the win! Just look at how shiny their coats are - they eat insane amounts of salmon.


Make sure to go and like Katmai National Park and Reserve on Facebook so that you can be a part of #fatbearweek 2019!


Written by MacKenzie Witzke, Business Manager at Agora Architecture