While we're trying to prepare for the fall season (and the rest of the year), bears are busy too. Every year, the brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve try to pack on the pounds in preparation for winter hibernation. And every year since 2014, the internet has voted on which chubby boy or girl deserves to win the coveted title of Fat Bear Week champion.
Fat Bear Week is hosted by Katmai National Park and Preserve as well Explore.org and the Katmai Conservancy. While the bracket tournament is good fun, it's also educational and intended to highlight both the park’s beauty and the bears who call it home.
There are a couple of things a bear must do to qualify for the Fat Bear Week bracket. For starters, they have to use the Brooks River—the park has webcams looking onto it—and they must do so during the early summer and into the fall. That way, we can compare just how well they prepped for hibernating. There are 12 bears who are part of the 2022 competition, including the 2021 champion, 480 Otis.
Will Otis win again? That’s for you and the rest of the internet to decide. Katmai National Park wants you to get to know the bears; it has shared pre and post-weight gain photos of each creature, along with a detailed description of them based on direct observation. Park employees analyze their personalities—calling some patient or assertive—giving us a complete picture of whether they’re a tubby tyrant or a chill chubster.
Vote for your favorite fat bear by visiting Explore.org. The winner will be announced on October 11, aka Fat Bear Tuesday.
Every year, the brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve try to pack on the pounds in preparation for winter hibernation.
Since 2013, the internet has voted on which chubby boy or girl deserves to win the coveted title of Fat Bear Week champion.
See the contenders for Fat Bear Week and vote for your favorite:
Presenting your Titans of Tub and hulking, hefty heroes! These bears will soon duke it out to see which tanking tummy reigns supreme. Check out their bios and pics at https://t.co/V2bF4olcpu.
— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 4, 2022