(ABC4) – It is that time of year again – Fat Bear Week is underway with the Katmai National Park and Preserve.
The national park, located in Alaska, holds the competition annually. It is intended to be a “celebration of success and survival,” highlighting the “resilience, adaptability, and strength of Katmai’s brown bears.”
Twelve brown bears are matched against each other in a bracket-style competition. Voting is held online until the Fat Bear Week 2021 Champion is crowned. In addition to submitting your vote, a visit to Katmai’s website will also provide information about the lives and histories of individual bears.
You can see a full competitor lineup and vote for the bear you think is the chunkiest here.
Among this year’s competitors are 32 Chunk, believed to be one of the largest adults at Brooks River at more than 1,200 pounds; 128 Grazer, said to be the most defensive mother bear; Bear 402, who has had the most litters of any bear at Brooks River; and Bear 747, whose size isn’t far off from the jet airplane that shares his name.
Last year, 747 topped out the competition.
Fat not only provides a chance to dub the chunkiest bear in Katmai, but it also contributes to survival. According to the park, bears enter their den each winter and will not eat or drink until spring. They can lose up to one-third of their body weight – that’s where fat reserves come in. Bears need to eat a year’s worth of food in six months to survive the winter months.
Katmai’s bears are drawn to the salmon readily available through the summer months. The fish allow the bears to build up their fat, helping them survive through winter’s hibernation. Throughout the season, you can watch the bears hunt and feast on bear cams.