The week of October 7 th proved to be another big, hairy, bear of a competition for the
annual wildlife title: Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear Week. Yet, after reviewing the
footage, a clear winner emerged victorious…and folks, it is a Momma Bear the Alaskan
park community has met before.
The 2019 Queen Fat Bear 435 was awarded to Holly, a bear that is no stranger to
southern Alaska bear fans.
Holly was first brought to the attention of the Katmai National Park and bear enthusiasts
in 2014, when she adopted and cared for an abandoned cub. For brown bears, this is
unusual behavior, but Holly thought nothing about it. She cared for that cub as though
she had birthed it herself, seemingly unconcerned for how her species was supposed to
react to such a situation.
Holly was back in the running last year, not as a good Samaritan bear, but as a
contender. While she had a good run in the 2018 Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear
Week, she was beat out early in the week. Yet, this year, Holly was back early, ready to
sink her claws into that title.
This is the fifth consecutive year for this informal contest which spotlights bears
throughout their summer and autumn feeding, as they prepare for their winter
The runners up in this year’s competition include the “astonishingly obese” 775 Lefty,
who scored just under 4,000 votes and the femme fatale, 128 Grazer, who had over
However, those votes were nothing, compared to the 18,000 votes that the victor,
Queen Holly amassed. According to park officials, though, Holly only stopped fishing to
dig a hole so she could sleep. Otherwise, she worked tirelessly to both fish and pack on
Obesity, in preparation for an Alaskan winter is nothing for a bear to be ashamed of. In
fact, the bigger and more efficient the bear is at hunting is an indication of their good
health. Since bears are likely to lose up to one-third of their body weight while they
hibernate, the bigger they are to start off, the more of a chance they will have to survive
All hail Queen Fat Bear Holly may your slumber be peaceful, and may your reign be
long and fruitful.