Is this fat-shaming or a celebration of the fuller figure?
Katmai National Park and Reserve in south-western Alaska has held its fourth annual fattest bear competition. Initially, twelve bears were selected for the contest but over a week or so by process of elimination the field was narrowed, if that is the right word, to just two, Bear 409, described as a “gigantic gal” with a “marvellous muffin top” and Bear 747, a “blimpy boar” whose “belly barely (or should that be bearly?) has clearance with the ground.”
The great Alaskan public were invited to vote on the Park’s Facebook page and despite having a slightly smaller frame, the female bear, also known as Beadnose, scooped over twice as many likes as her male rival. Being a single mother who had raised her cubs to maturity may have helped garner the public vote.
Beadnose won’t be resting on her laurels, though. Hibernation and the harshness of the Alaskan winter will see the pounds roll off and, assuming she survives, she will be back next spring and summer stuffing her face with fish to pile on the weight.
We will have to wait to see whether she retains her crown.
It must be that time of year.
The votes have been counted and the winner of New Zealand’s 14th Bird of the Year award, organised by the conservation group, Forest and Bird, has been announced.
Despite allegations of fowl play – some 1,800 votes from Australia were disqualified including 300 for the King Shag from one address (surely, it should have been four) – the Kererū topped the polls with 5,833 votes with the kākāpo getting 3,772 and the black stilt 2,995. New Zealand’s emblematic bird, the kiwi, garnered just 489 votes.
The Kererū, in case you didn’t know, is a large, colourful wood-pigeon, which grows up to around 20 inches in length and has a portly appearance due to its prodigious appetite. Its popularity is down to its predilection for fruit, particularly the Puriri berry, which inevitably ferments in its stomach. This affords mirth and merriment to the local Kiwis as they watch the bird lurch about in a drunken stupor, often falling out of the branches of the tree it is roosting in.
Despite its occasional drunken behaviour, it is one of the few birds native to New Zealand that is thriving. Now there must be a moral in that somewhere.