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All hail the ‘Queen of Corpulence’: Say hello to this year’s Fat Bear Week champion

  • Author: Jeff Parrott
  • Updated: October 12
  • Published October 12

Brown bear 435 Holly's remarkable summer expansion propelled her to victory in Katmai National Park's annual Fat Bear Week contest. (NPS Photo/N. Boak; NPS Photo/ L. Carter)

After more than 21,000 votes were cast, a massive female brown bear known as Holly was crowned the Fattest Bear of 2019.

Blond female 435 Holly squared off against male 775 Lefty on Tuesday in the final round of bracket-style competition during Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fat Bear Week.

“Lefty is a fat, beautiful bear. All due respect to Holly but Lefty is the fattest of all. Vote for Lefty!” one Facebook fan campaigned.

“435 Holly -- Holly winning the championship title would be a victory for fuzzy plump females of all species everywhere, and Lord knows we need one,” another fan commented.

By the end of the Facebook contest, which stretched over seven days, about 18,000 fans voted for Holly to be crowned Katmai’s “Queen of Corpulence,” said Naomi Boak, a ranger with the Katmai Conservancy who worked at the park this year.

Runner-up 775 Lefty, a popular bear who won three earlier rounds during the tournament, had fewer than 4,000 votes, Boak said.

Holly has been a fan favorite among viewers of Katmai’s bear cams since 2014, when she adopted an abandoned cub.

“She is phenomenally fat,” Boak said about 435 Holly, who weighs an estimated 700 to 800 pounds.

She is fat. She is fabulous. She is 435 Holly. And you voted her the 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion. All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!

Posted by Katmai National Park & Preserve on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mike Fitz, a resident naturalist with Explore and a former Katmai park ranger, also called Holly fat — a compliment in the bear world. Bears can sometimes gain over 2 pounds of fat each day in the summer and fall as they feast on salmon to prepare for hibernation. While hibernating, they can lose up to a third of their body weight.

The bear cams are operated by Explore, a nonprofit that partners with Katmai National Park to produce the live-stream of the bears.

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