It’s back to the Fat Bear Week competition for the live-streamed bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve and it’s looking like last year’s champion will take first place again this year.
Footage showed a bear named 747, who is the largest, most dominant bear, struggling to climb up a commonly-used bear trail beside the riverbank used by bears venturing down to the river to eat protein-packed salmon.
Explore.org has placed several cameras on Katmai’s Brooks River to capture the bears feasting and it can get quite crowded with many bears eager to fish at the same time.
Wildlife officers spotted 747 devouring 15 fish over the course of just a few hours and sported a fully bloated belly making it hard for him to move around properly.
Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game says the bears being able to eat like this is a conservation success story. The department made sure bounties of fish made it up into wild watersheds like Katmai’s.
Katmai National Park is highly protected from harmful exploitation and development which has allowed the flourishing of wildlife.
“This is a story about a very healthy ecosystem,” Naomi Boak, the media ranger at Katmai National Park and Preserve, told Mashable in 2020. “It’s about salmon that have cool enough and fresh enough water to thrive.”