Alaska: 480 Otis crowned the fattest bear of the year

A dozen of brown bears aced off during Fat Bear Week, an annual battle of bulk that rewards their pre-winter-hibernation gains.

Polls closed in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, and 480 Otis was crowned as the fattest bear of the year.

Otis also won in 2014, 2016 and 2017, was neither the biggest nor the youngest in this year’s competition.

But the grizzled veteran easily prevailed over his competitors.

On Fat Bear Tuesday, the final round of the weeklong contest, the plump pro soundly defeated 151 Walker by over 6,000 votes.

Park officials had estimated Walker’s weight to be in excess of 1,000lbs but by dint of his salmon-catching prowess, Otis transformed his physique over the late summer and early fall to win over an adoring public yet again.

The bears of Katmai are skinny over the summer, but ahead of the winter months, they make their way down to Brooks River, which runs through the park, and gorge on one of the largest and healthiest runs of sockeye salmon in the world.

The fatter they grow, the more fat stores they can subsist on in their winter dens and the healthier they will be once hibernation ends.

Brown bears can gain up to four pounds of weight a day and adult males can weigh up to 1,200lbs.

Nearly 800,000 votes were cast this year before Otis was crowned.