409 Beadnose has won Alaska’s annual Fat Bear Week contest with her “radiant rolls” of “fabulous flab”.
The annual competition is run by the state’s Katmai National Park and Preserve and sees 12 of the park’s chubbiest bears pitted against each other.
Each day of Fat Bear Week, contestants’ photos were posted on the park’s Facebook page and the bear with the most likes progressed to the next day’s round.
On Facebook, the park staff said Beadnose’s “radiant rolls were deemed by the voting public to be this year’s most fabulous flab”.
“Our chubby champ has a few more weeks to chow down on lingering salmon carcasses before she heads up the mountains to dig herself a den and savour her victory.”
The competition is used to educate the public about the bears but, for the bears, gaining weight at this time of year is about staying alive.
Andrew LaValle, a Katmai ranger who is in charge of most of the park’s social media postings, said: “This [competition] might be entertaining, especially with these beautiful majestic animals, but this is a life-or-death struggle.”
Next month the bears will retreat to their dens for hibernation and they will have been eating almost non-stop since July so they can survive the winter.
Mr LaValle said the competition was not about “fat shaming”, it was about “celebrating the survival of Katmai’s most successful bears”.
Katmai’s 2,000 bears can lose a third of their body weight during hibernation but luckily the national park has a river well-stocked with salmon.
And if they were ever to get tired of the salmon, they also like to chomp on berries, vegetation and other animals.
409 Beadnose, a shaggy brown bear, found herself up against a male named 747, after the jumbo jet, but she triumphed as titan of the tundra.
Beadnose and 747 are part of a group known as the Brooks River bears, who have become the park’s celebrities.
They are featured on the live bear cam, where thousands of fans keenly follow their every swimming session, salmon theft, cub rescue and belly flop.