Big mama Grazer claims her crown as bear with the biggest bulge
Don’t mess with mama bear ‘Grazer’, a single parent who takes on rival brown bear blokes like a boss and has snagged the 2023 title in Alaska’s most watched talent quest
READING LEVEL: GREEN
Big mama brown bear 128 – dubbed “Grazer” – has been crowned the fattest bear of them all in the US this week. Grazer “bearied” her competition in a landslide victory* against her runner-up, 32 Chunk, scoring a heavy load of 108,321 votes to his lean 23,134.
More than 1.3 million voters turned out for the annual Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fat Bear Week, a feel-good tournament celebrating the winter bods of the park’s biggest bears.
The once-scrawny brown bear — who dethroned* previous champion 747 in the second round — beefed up for her Alaskan hibernation* in just two months’ time, and is usually one of the plumpest salmon predators* to prowl the Brooks River every year, according to US National Park Service.
Grazer, a single mum, “pre-emptively* confronts and attacks larger bears,” including adult males, to keep her cubs safe, commanding respect and fear from her peers. 151 Walker — who stood no chance against Grazer in the first round and was eliminated* — cowers* when she approaches.
The boss babe was introduced to Brooks River as a cub nearly two decades ago. Since then, she has become “one of the best anglers*” around, hence her fine plump figure, according to Katmai National Park ranger Naomi Boak.
Grazer beat out her fan-favourite opponent Chunk as the chunkiest champion, despite his “substantial fat reserves.”
Unlike the voluptuous* victor, in past years Chunk couldn’t measure up to his fellow brown bears at the river, and was previously “often unwilling or unable to successfully challenge” the larger males or even fish.
This summer, however, Chunk the mammoth* salmon hunter used his size to his advantage, intimidating even the most rotund* bears, such as 747, into giving up their prized fishing stations, quickly rising to riverside stardom as one of the “largest and most dominant males.”
Unfortunately, his “ample hindquarters” could not secure him first place among the fierce competition in Fat Bear Week.
It’s unclear exactly how much Chunk or Grazer weigh, although the Alaskan park is home to some of the largest bears in the world, with adult males ballooning between around 454 to 635kg and females tipping the scales at 320 or 363kg.
“We have some of the largest bears on the planet,” Ranger Boak previously told America’s National Public Radio (NPR).
“They need every ounce of fat they can get” before hibernation,” she said.
This story has been edited and was originally published by the NY Post – it is republished here with permission
- landslide victory: winning by a big margin of points or votes
- dethroned: beaten someone who was the best at something to become the best yourself
- hibernation: the state of being asleep for the winter
- predators: animals that hunt, kill and eat other animals in order to survive
- pre-emptively: something done before others can act, getting in first, anticipating
- eliminated: knocked out of the running in a contest
- cowers: cringes, shrinks, pulls away from something or someone due to fear
- angler: another word for a fisherman
- voluptuous: shapely, curvy, suggests a large, soft figure
- How many votes did Grazer get to win the title of Fat Bear?
- What do the brown bears of Katmai feast on ahead of hibernation?
- How many voters turned out for the Fat Bear Week contest?
- What is the weight range for male and female brown bears at the park?
- How long ago was Grazer introduced to prime feeding site Brooks River?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Design a trophy
Create a design for a special trophy for the winner of Fat Bear Week. Remember that a trophy includes symbols of the sport or competition and celebrates the event.
Time: allow at least 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English
If you could interview Chunk about coming runner up in Fat Bear Week, what five questions would you ask? Write the questions. At least one question should help people understand why it is important for the bears to “beef-up” before hibernation. Then, write the answers that Chunk might give. Use information in the story and your research skills to help you.
Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science
Stretch your sentence
Find a “who” in the article – a person or an animal. Write it down.
Add three adjectives to describe them better.
Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?
Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.
Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.