Meet Otis, Champion of Alaska’s Fat Bear Competition

The ursine celeb likely weighs well over 1,000 pounds.

Donnie Vincent h (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
Donnie Vincent h (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
Getty Images

Each year Katmai National Park in Alaska hosts a Fat Bear Week competition in which fans vote on photos of the park’s roundest brown bears, and a bear named Otis is enjoying something of a dynasty. Having won two of the last three bracket-style competitions, Otis might be the most famous fat bear in the world.

The voting-system is necessary for determining the park’s fattest bear because sedating and weighing the creatures is a dangerous act. Otis’ championships have thus been aesthetic victories. The competition takes place right before the hibernation period, when storing up extra fat is most important.

“It’s a celebration of their success,” former Katmai ranger Mike Fitz told Outside Online about the competition. “Especially early in the season, people can see them catching their first salmon and the look of satisfaction on their face.”

Otis is 22 years old, making him an elder among the park’s bears. Rangers suspect that he may not factually be the heaviest bear in Katmai, but he remains the most photogenic.

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