Videos and pictures of a fat bear, nicknamed 747, have gone viral on Twitter. The bear has gotten so large that webcams captured the huge animal struggling to walk up a riverbank. Although it seems like an easy task since bears walk the path daily, this big guy had some trouble.
The fat bear is one of many bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The bears are livestreamed on explore.org’s webcams. The massive bear packed on the pounds in preparation for the animal’s hibernation period throughout winter. In spite of the bear’s struggles, he loves to feed on salmon in the famous Brooks River.
This bear in particular, an adult male bear numbered 747 by Katmai biologists, is presumed to weigh well over 1,000 pounds. Yet 747’s enlarged physique is no cause for concern, and is actually beneficial for him. In fact, it helps him survive throughout the lengthy hibernation season. During hibernation, bears lose tons of weight, but are able to retain their muscle. Therefore the more a bear eats, the more fat is stored, and the better chance the bear has to survive.
Katmai and Alaska’s greater Bristol Bay region have seen an increase in salmon swimming through its streams this year, which the bears are surely loving. You can tell 747 definitely is.
“The bears right now are the beneficiary of tons of salmon,” said Mike Fitz, a former park ranger at Katmai. “The bears are extremely fat for this time of year.”
Katmai Park holds a yearly Fat Bear Week contest in late September and early October. They give the public an opportunity to vote on the fattest bear. 747 is annually in the running for first place, but to date has never won the competition.
Twitter Loves the Fat Bear
Hundreds of Twitter users commented on explore.org’s posts about the huge bear. And many people are rooting for 747 to finally win Fat Bear Week in 2020.