Science & Environment

Old Fat Bear Has Returned, And People Are Celebrating

One of the oldest and most beloved bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park has arrived for the salmon season simply in time.

Bear 480 Otis is a brown bear estimated to be about 27 years outdated, making him one thing of an ursine elder statesman.

Otis and one other unidentified bear in an undated photograph.

Ian Stotesbury through Getty Images

“A bear that’s around 30 years of age is approaching what would be the equivalent of a 100-year-old person,” Mike Fitz, former Katmai park ranger now the resident naturalist at, told The Washington Post. “Most bears don’t have the fortune of living that long.”

Fitz can be the creator of Fat Bear Week, the annual sensation that introduced Otis to the nationwide highlight. Every summer season, brown bears return to the park’s Brooks River to fish for salmon and bulk up for winter hibernation. Fat Bear Week takes place within the fall, when the bears have gained important mass, and is a March Madness-style bracket wherein followers can vote on their favourite chunk.

Otis is a four-time winner of the competitors, most lately taking the crown in 2021. His recognition and age have gained him the epithet “King Otis.” But Katmai Ranger Cheryl Spencer previously told Outsider that he additionally has a barely much less dignified nickname.

“We call him ‘Floaty Otie’ in the fall,” she stated, explaining that he usually begins trying to find salmon within the decrease a part of Brooks River, then when autumn hits, “slowly floats to Brooks Falls as he’s fishing.”

Earlier this month, watchers of’s bear live cam started getting involved when Otis hadn’t proven up on the river alongside his fellow bears. But on Wednesday, the animal livestream web site turned the bearers of excellent information.

“REJOICE!! KING OTIS HAS RETURNED!” the location posted on X, previously often called Twitter, alongside a clip of the skinny and considerably bedraggled-looking senior bear standing within the rush of the river.

Climate change is having a worrying impression on salmon and the bears like Otis, who rely on them.

“The last time he showed up this late, salmon were also late, and the salmon were late this year as well,” spokesperson Candice Rusch advised the Post. “What we’ve been seeing in Alaska is that the salmon run has been trending later into July, which means for bears like Otis waiting longer to eat that salmon.”

This 12 months, Otis was seen efficiently catching fish shortly after his late arrival. Many human admirers of the long-lived creature expressed pleasure and reduction that he can be round for one more season.

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