Fat Bear ‘901’ is the greatest fat bear of ‘Fat Bear Week’

We have once again reached the most important time of the year: Fat Bear Week — and there is one fat bear who is absolutely without equal.

Katmai National Park in Alaska begins to track the weight gain of its largest bears in later Summer, as they prepare for hibernation. Gorging on fish, berries, and whatever else they can find, the bears double in size to get the sustenance they need for a long winter’s nap. Over one magical October week we get to view, vote and appreciate the chonky kings and queens of Katmai, voting for bears until one is named the Fat Bear Week champion.

In the past I’ve taken a measured approach to the fat bears, not wanting to influence the outcome with whatever fat bear influence I’ve created — but not this year. There is one clear fat bear winner, and it isn’t even close. Feast your eyes on the bear with no name, “901,” who should absolutely body this year’s field.

LOOK AT THIS ABSOLUTE UNIT! In the span of three months 901 went from looking like a pretty standard bear, to a tank. The Katmai National Park bio on 901 indicates she’s approximately 6 years old, and could be bulking up to give birth during hibernation this year. Which, also I learned that bears sleep while giving birth — which is simply astonishing. Still, it means we could have bear cubs in the spring for 901, passing on her genetic gifts for weight gain.

Nobody else is close in a contest where the goal is for a bear to get as fat as possible, as quickly as possible. 901 really put her money where he mouth is and gorged on a stunning amount of fish to get ready for the contest, and I think she’s poised to demolish previous winner Otis, who didn’t bulk up nearly as much as I hoped in 2022.

The only thing I don’t like about Bear 901 is that we don’t have a name. This really bothered my 5-year-old daughter who asked what the bear’s name was, and wasn’t too thrilled with simply calling her ‘901.’ She is offering three potential names: Riley, Cee Cee, or Butterfly. All good names imo, so if you’re reading this Katmai, please consider naming 901 one of these. I’m particularly fond of Butterfly, because it’s the perfectly anachronistic name for a fat bear.

I’m not going to ruin this and tell you to vote for 901 outright, but take a look at the field and follow your heart. I think you’ll find that 901 is the only choice for 2022. What a good bear.

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