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Katmai National Park crowns this year’s champion

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“River, river in the fall, who’s the fattest bear of all?”

After a week of fierce competition, southwest Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve named “Holly” as the fifth-annual Fat Bear Week champion.

From Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, the park asked their social media followers to vote on which of these husky hibernators is the fattest bear of the Brooks River.

The public voted via Katmai’s Facebook page and 435, also known as “Holly,” emerged as this year’s winner.

“She is fat. She is fabulous,” the park said in their Facebook post. “All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!”

Katmai National Park hosts one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world, according to the park’s website.

Bulking up for bears is a necessity to prepare themselves for hibernation, so the fattest bear is actually considered the healthiest as it means a stronger chance of survival during the winter.

Hibernation can last half a year and a bear can lose up to one-third of its body mass, the park’s website says. Before their winter slumber, bears enter a state where they eat nearly non-stop, an event called hyperphagia. 

A bear stocks up on sockeye salmon, which contains about 4,500 calories per fish, to make weight before hibernating. They can eat upwards of two dozen fish per day during peak season.

Contributing: Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT. 

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