If you haven't heard, America has a new champion - and she walks on four legs and is very, very big. Grizzly 435, named Holly by Katmai National Park staff, won the title of fattest bear for 2019's Fat Bear Week.
The contest, which has been going on for five years, shows before and after pictures of the park's native grizzlies. One pic shows the bears mid-summer the other shows just how big they'd gotten after gorging on the salmon in the nearby Brooks River. The difference is astounding. They'd packed on the pounds for several months preparing for their near six-month hibernation. Since the bears won't eat during that time, they need to have a good layer of chunk to help them survive. By the time they reemerge, they will have lost close to a third of their body mass.
But while American bears are feasting, some of Canada's bears are in the middle of a famine. The same week Holly was named "big bear", a Canadian photographer shared photos on social media of a mother bear and her cubs that were stunningly emaciated. The salmon run in their home near the Knight Inlet is the worst in history according to the photographer and the bears haven't been able to eat enough to prepare themselves for their long half-year slumber. If they don't have enough food to prepare for the winter it is quite likely, they won't live to see next year.
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the country's climate is warming twice the speed of the global average. This drastic shift in the environment has hit the salmon population hard and in turn other animals like bears and orcas that depend on them for survival.
It's gotten so bad, that volunteers have resorted to delivering hundreds of pounds of salmon to the areas starving bears, in hopes that they will have a chance of surviving.
Sign the petition and implore British Columbia and Canadian officials to create an action plan to save both the bears of Knight Inlet and the salmon they so desperately depend on to survive.