Katmai Fat Bear Week has Arrived Again!

Fat Bear Week has once again arrived thanks to the super-stuffed and bouncy bruins in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve. Love a little meat on the bones? Check out Katmai's curvy contenders.

Katmai Fat Bear Week has Arrived Again!

Bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve are well fed thanks to ample forage including fish in the river, including this one sitting in Brooks Falls. (Photo: Explore.org/livecams)

Fat Bear Week has once again arrived thanks to the super-stuffed and bouncy bruins in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve.

This fun event put on by the NPS highlights its fat favorites in the Brooks River and includes a bracket with a gaggle of curvy contenders. Like a little meat on the bones? Some of the Katmai cuties definitely have a jiggle in their jaunt as they're vying for the crown of fattest bear. Voting takes place on the KNPP's Facebook page.

Park officials say the competition, now in its fifth year, pits some of the well-known bears of the Brooks River against one another for the title. Bear Cam viewers and fans of Katmai’s bears are the ones who decide which bear looks the fattest. The public is encouraged to vote on Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Facebook page in head-to-head matches each day beginning Oct. 2. The bear whose photo receives the most likes will advance to the next round, until one bear is crowned “Fattest Bear” on Fat Bear Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The loveable lardos don't get triggered or scream about "fat shaming!" during the voting period. Fat brown bears indicate a hearty lifestyle and better chance of survival, park officials say, along with evidence of ample forage to support the population. During winter hibernation, which can last for up to half of the year in their den, a bear could lose up to one third of its body mass.

In preparation for hibernation, the bears are entering what is known as hyperphagia this time of year. Hyperphagia is state in which they eat nearly non-stop to pack on the pounds before they begin hibernation. 

Thanks to the tremendous popularity of Katmai's explore.org webcams, the audience for Fat Bear Week gets bigger every year. Since 2012, Bear Cam viewers have had a front row seat to the lives of the bears at Brooks Falls. The live streams allow millions of people around the world to gain virtual access to this remote park and its abundant wildlife.

Katmai National Park and Preserve hosts one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world. It is Katmai’s tremendous runs of sockeye salmon that keep these bears coming back.

Top contenders this year include bear 747, whose name and heft conjure up images of jumbo jets. He faces strong competition from bear 435 Holly and bear 128 Grazer, two females that have been very successful in packing on the pounds and might even bring a new litter of cubs into their dens this winter. 2018’s reigning queen, bear 409 Beadnose, has declined to compete this year.

So it’s anybody’s game in 2019. Who will you vote for this year?


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