Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fat Bear contest highlights bulky bruins

Bruno goes for a swim in his enclosure at Zoo Montana In Billings, MT
Zoo Montana
Bruno goes for a swim in his enclosure at Zoo Montana In Billings, MT

Bears are working right now to put on extra weight before heading into winter hibernation.

As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Worthington reports, some of the biggest bears are getting national attention for packing on the pounds.

The winner of the 2023 Fat Bear Week in Alaska is in and two resident grizzly bears at ZooMontana are not too far behind the winner when it comes to winter weight.

The annual Fat Bear Week is a way to celebrate the resilience, adaptability and strength of brown bears at Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, according to the National Park Service.

Online visitors vote from a selection of 12 bulky bears. The bruin with the most votes is ultimately crowned the Fat Bear favorite.

This year, Grazer, an adult female, garnered the most votes. She is estimated to weigh around 800 pounds.

Meanwhile, back in Montana, Ozzy is the heaviest of the two resident grizzly bears at ZooMontana, weighing in at 695 pounds, according to the zoo’s Facebook page..

Bruno, who has been a Zoo Montana resident for many years is just shy of that at 626 pounds.

Ozzy and Bruno will be joined in coming weeks at Zoo Montana by two orphaned bear cubs.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.