By Alexander Greensmith
PHOTOGRAPHER snaps a TEN STONE OVERWEIGHT polar bear in Alaska that could be the FATTEST ALIVE.
Candid pictures show the colossal mammal in squishing distance of a tiny seagull whilst eye-balling the camera, before letting out a monumental yawn. They say everything is larger in the states, and this is even the case with the polar bears as these images show.
The photographs show the gargantuan beast waking up covered in brown furry spots, caused by a long nap in the sand. The shots were taken on Barter Island, Katovik, Alaska, USA, on a Fujifilm GFX50s with Canon 500mm f/4 Lens.
The sequence ends with the beast checking out his body in the reflection of a nearby pond, but photographer, Edward Boudreau (56), from Eagle River, Alaska, thinks the brute is proud of his size.
“We had been photographing the bears that hang out on Barter Island in Alaska for about two-days-straight and every one of them (thirty or so), were the size one would expect for a healthy bear,” said Mr Boudreau.
“On our third day a heavy fog came in from the Beaufort Sea, which only allowed us to see silhouetted bears on the horizon.
“To our surprise when the fog lifted across the bank this big guy meandered over with authority toward the water’s edge. We were all so astounded and in awe that no one thought to take photos except for me.
“Our guide mentioned to us that in the twenty-five years of guiding he had never seen one this big. He outweighs the other bears by hundreds of pounds.”
The beast was aptly and affectionately christened ‘Fat Albert’.
Whilst normal adult male bears weigh around 980 pounds (70 stone), ‘Fat Albert’ lives up to his name by weighing an estimated 1,498 pounds (107 stone).
A colder winter leaving more ice for easier hunting conditions for humans and polar bears alike is speculated to have led to Albert’s gigantic size.
“The villagers had just harvested a whale and what they do is cut a large portion of meat and blubber then haul it about four miles out of town for the bears to find,” added the professional photographer.
“They do this for two reasons. First: it keeps the bears from coming to the harvest and disrupting the process, you wouldn’t want twenty or so full-size Polar Bears descending towards you in a hurry and hungry.
“The second reason is the villagers are paying homage to the bear, showing them the respect they deserve as they have traditionally for thousands of years.
“If the village fails to harvest a whale then the bears would need to wait until the Sea freezes over so they can hunt the seals.”
But it seems this year the titanic creature beat a lot of his polar brethren to the precious whale blubber.
But Albert is not a world-record holder, as the largest polar bear in history hit the scales at 2,209 pounds (157.7 stone) in 1960.
Despite being over 120 feet away and on a boat, Edward still felt intimidated by the portly polar bear.
“My favourite photo of Fat Albert is the one where he is looking straight at me. He seemed to take measure of me and then promptly give me no more thought; he was after all the alpha male,” confessed the Alaskan.
“The one thing that struck me about viewing these magnificent beasts was their demeanour toward each other.
“There was a level of respect and of calm as they intermingled or just passed each other – even Albert.
“This trait is something you would not see from their smaller cousins, especially the grizzly and brown bears. They do not play well together.
“If you have a bucket list no matter how long or short it is, don’t sit around waiting for it to be too late to fulfil it. This little blue marble we all live on is amazing so go out and experience it. Go and see these polar bears.”
You can follow Ed on Instagram @ed_boudreau_photography.