'Supermom' bear crowned 'Fat Bear Week' champion

Last updated at 13:25
Holly-fattest-bear.KATMAI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE/ L. Carter

A bear in America, nicknamed 'Supermom', has been crowned the fattest bear in one of Alaska's national parks.

It might sound daft (and it is!) but there's a really good reason bears there have been putting on weight!

The bear, called Holly, won a vote on social media as part of Fat Bear Week which is run by the Katmai National Park and Preserve.

A post on its Facebook page said: "All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence [being fat]!"

Katmai, in southwestern Alaska, is known for its brown bears, which grow to massive sizes by eating salmon.

What is Fat Bear Week?

It's a competition to find the fattest bear in the Katmai National Park and Preserve.

A total of twelve bears were in the running to be voted the winner and it was Holly who came out on top.

Overall nearly 190,000 voted online - that's more than three times the number of people who voted last year.

It's been really popular across the United States, with some teachers even talking about Katmai's fat bears in lessons!

What do we know about the fattest bear - Holly?

Holly didn't have any cubs this year, so she didn't have anything to distract her from eating!

"She's just a great bear. When she doesn't have cubs, she looks like the Michelin Man," said Naomi Boak who's been in charge of this year's Fat Bear Week event.

"She doesn't stop fishing. It was really hard to get pictures of her because she just doesn't get out of the water," she added.

Holly-before-and-after-fattening-up.Katmai National Park and Preserve/N. Boak/L. Cart
Holly has been crowned the 'Fat Bear Week Champion' for 2019 - here you can see how much weight she has gained in just a few months. We think she looks great chubbier!

This isn't the first time everyone's been talking about Holly though.

She was already well-known to fans of Alaska wildlife - millions of people have watched her on a livestreaming 'bear cam' which was set up in the park.

She became famous when she adopted a young cub that had been abandoned by its mum.

Naomi says adoption is "very, very unusual" among brown bears so bear cam followers nicknamed her Supermom.

She has her own offspring - an adult female who has cubs of her own - so Holly's a grandma too.

What a bear!

Lefty-fat-bear.Katmai National Park and Preserve/J. Cuomo
Lefty made it into the final two of the contest, but lost out on the 'Fat Bear' crown to Holly
Why do bears need to put on weight?

The aim of Fat Bear Week is to highlight the Katmai bears' preparation for winter hibernation.

During their winter sleep, bears will usually lose around a third of their body weight.

This means that during the summer and autumn, they need to build up their body fat reserves in preparation for their survival during the colder months.

The bears eat the salmon and berries in the Katmai National Park.

The park's Brooks Falls is the well known bear spot to see them as that's where they go fishing!

Male bears can eat more than 70 stone worth of food, and female bears about two thirds of that, before they hibernate in dens in the mountains.

Brooks-falls-popular-for-bears-fishing-for-salmon.Getty Images
Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve is popular with brown bears fishing for salmon!

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