Chunky champ: 480 Otis wins fourth Fat Bear Week title

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Once again, 480 Otis is the king of calories.

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The big brown bear won his fourth Fat Bear Week title at Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve on Tuesday night, KTUU reported. He adds championships he won in 2017 and 2016 and during the park’s inaugural competition in 2014 to his résumé.

“The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final matchup of #FatBearWeek 2021,” the park’s Facebook post read. “480 Otis can now boast a bevy of bests with this famed fourth first-place finish.”

Every fall, some of the largest brown bears in Alaska feast on sockeye salmon at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, located in southwest Alaska, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The single-elimination tournament began Sept. 29 with online voting.

Fat Bear Week started off as a one-day affair, and like the bears’ weight, ballooned into a weeklong event, USA Today reported.

This year, Otis collected 51,230 votes in the final round to defeat 151 Walker’s 44,834 votes, The New York Times reported.

>> Time to weigh in: It’s Fat Bear Week in Alaska

Nearly 800,000 votes were cast in the competition, which featured 12 bears, the newspaper said.

Fat Bear Week is sponsored by the Katmai National Park and Preserve, explore.org and the Katmai Conservancy, according to NPR.

Otis was first identified by park rangers in 2001 when he was 4, according to USA Today. Brown bears typically live for around 20 to 30 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Otis took his time this year to come up with his winning form. Steady and sure, the big bear piled on the pounds.

“Otis rarely makes an effort to chase salmon like younger, more energetic bears,” Explore.org’s bear description page reads. “Once access to his preferred fishing spots becomes available, he takes advantage of the opportunity while expending little energy. While Otis occasionally appears to be napping or not paying attention, most of the time he’s focused on the water, and he experiences a relatively high salmon catch rate as a result.”

“Bears are fascinating animals and lead challenging lives, and I think people are happy to celebrate their success each season,” Amber Kraft, a spokesperson for the park, told the newspaper.

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