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Winner of viral Fat Bear contest revealed

By David Chipakupaku

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Holly was voted the fattest bear out of 12 competitors. Pic: Katmai National Park & Preserve

(SKY NEWS) — A bear compared to the “Michelin Man” has been crowned the winner of a Fat Bear competition that became an internet sensation.

Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska asked people to vote on its Facebook page for their favourite rotund grizzly.

The contest featured 12 brown bears who had grown in size after gorging on salmon as they prepare to hibernate during the winter months.

After more than 187,000 votes, a grandmother bear called Holly was announced as the winner of the contest.

“All hail Holly, whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring,” the park said in a Facebook post.

“Long live the Queen of Corpulence!”

Katmai Park ranger Naomi Boak, who managed the competition, said: “She’s just a great bear. When she doesn’t have cubs, she looks like the Michelin Man.”

Bears typically lose a third of their body weight during their winter sleep so the body fat they take on in the summer and autumn is crucial to their survival. ​​​​​​

Katami Park is heavily populated with salmon, along with different types of berries. Female bears typically put on around 600lb (272kg) before their sleep.

Holly is well-known to fans of the park and has been seen on its “bear cam” by millions of people.

She previously adopted a cub which had been abandoned by its mother – something which is rare among the species, prompting Ms Boak to nickname Holly “supermom”.

The number of votes during this year’s Fat Bear contest was three times that of the 2018 contest.

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