You would not think being old, toothless, and late would make you a winner, but for four-time champion 480 Otis, these disadvantages are irrelevant when it comes to fighting for Katmai National Park and Explore.org’s Fat Bear Week 2021 title. While, not the largest bear in the race this year, his #TransformationTuesday definitely won hearts and minds in the final vote yesterday, as he defeated 151 Walker by over 6,000 votes.
As a well-known figure among Fat Bear Week devotees, 25-year-old Otis has amassed quite a following, but popularity comes with a lot of baggage. People flocked to social media with claims that the “sympathy vote army,” a term more frequently associated with the scandalous annual New Zealand Bird of the Year Competition, awarded his title to him.
A fishy competition or salty words, we have no idea and do not care. We join to commemorate all bears and their bodacious efforts during Fat Bear Week. Otis’s portfolio demonstrates he is a legitimate contender, with photos of him rarely taken without food in his mouth and him having fully evolved from a slender frame earlier this year to the absolute unit he is now.
Mike Fitz, the competition’s organizer and resident naturalist with Explore.org, told the Washington Post, “He came back to the river later than typical for him.” “At the time, he was quite thin, but he’s filled in well now.” It is also a good thing for an elderly bear-like Otis because hibernating will be hard on his health. These bears’ annual nap is never certain, which is why chowing down on KTP’s sockeye salmon is as delectable as it is necessary for their survival.
It is fitting, then, that in what has been a trying year for many, some sauntered in late and won the title remind us of the force of perseverance as an elderly bear dubbed the “underdog”. Otis’ victory was greeted with some alliteration to end all alliteration from the KTP socials, in typical Fat Bear Week style. “The people have spoken!” says the narrator. In the final battle of #FatBearWeek 2021, the portly patriarch of paunch persevered in annihilating the Baron of Beardonkadonk. With her fourth first-place finish, 480 Otis now has a long list of personal bests. 480 is still chowing on like a genuine champion while we celebrate.” Congratulations, Otis; you have worked hard for it.