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Meet The Winner Of This Year's Fattest Bear Contest

NOEL KING, HOST:

In Alaska, one of the biggest elections of the year just finished.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's an election about being big. At the Katmai National Park and Preserve, voters online have chosen this year's fattest bear.

MIKE FITZ: Bears get fat to survive. After a summer-long effort of feeding on salmon, berries and other foods, brown bears at Brooks River in Katmai National Park have reached peak fat.

INSKEEP: Analysis there from Mike Fitz, resident naturalist with explore.org.

KING: He's been hosting videos for the park's annual Fat Bear Week, which takes place just before these chubsters (ph) go into hibernation.

FITZ: In the tournament of champions that is Fat Bear Week, the merely pudgy bears have been winnowed away. And only the truly fattest are left standing.

INSKEEP: I'm just still recovering from Noel saying chubsters, but let's move on. Voting opened online last week. And Katmai's media ranger Naomi Boak read the list of 12 challengers in a March Madness-style bracket.

NAOMI BOAK: Bear 32, Chunk, versus Bear 435, Holly. So it's an independent, big male versus a young mama. Then...

KING: On Tuesday, it was down to two brown bears, Bear 32, Chunk, versus Bear 747. The votes were tallied up. And the winner is...

(SOUNDBITE OF HANDS KNOCKING)

INSKEEP: The 1,400-pounder, Bear 747. To the runner-up, Chunk, a word of advice from Fitz.

FITZ: The road to fat bear greatness is paved with salmon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SABZI'S "SPECTACULAR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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