Fat Bear Week 2023 has come to a close.
Image: The Washington Post/Getty Images
Fat Bear Week 2023 is in the books, with a specimen called 128 Grazer nabbing the title of bulkiest bruin in an Alaskan national park.
The portly prizewinner crushed her rival in a heavyweight head-to-head battle for public votes, with a four-to-one margin of victory over 32 Chunk.
"She's beauty and she's grace, she stuffed so much salmon in her face," the National Park Service wrote on Instagram.
"You will wear the crown, be the crown! You ate the crown!?!
"Congrats to the 2023 #FatBearWeek champion, 128 Grazer! With a dominant performance (We haven't seen a walk like that since Jurassic Park)"
Grazer and Chunk, along with around 2,000 others of their kind, are residents of Katmai National Park, where for the last few months they have been gorging themselves on salmon as they try to pile on the pounds for hibernation.
Summer and early autumn are key fueling periods for the brown bears, who will not eat for five months, losing as much as a third of their body weight.
More than 1.3 million ballots were cast in this year's contest, with members of the public tuning in to watch live webcam footage of bears in the wild.Also read: Fat Bear Week heavyweight contest grips North American web users
Voters were asked to compare before-and-after pictures of the animals showing just how much pudgier they managed to become, with the champion being the bear who made it through a series of match-ups.
The online contest began in 2014 with just a few thousand people voting, but has now turned into an eagerly awaited exercise in tongue-in-cheek democracy.
The aim is to raise awareness of brown bears and their habitat in Alaska, and the risks they face from human activity.