Fat Bear Week 2021

The Nation Parks Service’s Annual Competition Comes to an End

Perri Polyviou, Art Director

The fight for survival in the Alaskan wilderness can be brutal. Freezing temperatures, treacherous territory, and raw fish? Just about anyone on the Jersey Shore would decline an invite. Bears on the other hand? This is their bear-adise.

Fat Bear week is, as put by the National Parks Service, “an annual celebration of success” in which the fattest bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve battle it out for the title of Fattest Bear. Fortunately, there is no actual paw-to-paw combat going on. The champion bear is crowned using a March-Madness style bracket where the public votes on which bear moves up the ranks. This year’s Fattest Bear was 480 Otis, a four-time Fat Bear champ! Otis, identified as having a walrus-shaped body and thick, wrinkled neck, has been on Katmai’s radar since he was first identified in 2001 at only four to six years old. Here’s to another peaceful winter slumber for 2021’s Fattest Bear, 480 Otis!