The beginning of October in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska means just one thing: the kick off of Fat Bear Week.
The park administrators encourage the public to go to the Facebook page to vote for their favourite fatty, their number one thiccest bear out of all the teddies who appear most frequently on the park’s Bear Cams.[related_articles]56255,61844,61496[/related_articles]
For brown bears, being a fatty boomba is a fantastic thing. As winter approaches, bears will eat as much as they can find, putting on weight so they can get through their winter hibernation. The more fat the bears have on them right before hibernation – they’re at their fattest in early October – the more likely they are to survive through to spring. It’s literally survival of the fattest.
“Over the course of winter hibernation in the den, a bear could lose up to one third of its body mass,” says the park admin officers. “In preparation, this time of year the bears are entering hyperphagia, a state in which they eat nearly non-stop.” I mean, same.
You can even check out the big daddies live on the park’s Bear Cams (find them here). Several cameras around the park stream live feeds of the bears doing… all the stuff bears do. Eating, I guess.[related_articles]65187,62424[/related_articles]
“Notable competitors this year include bear 747, whose belly barely makes clearance with the ground,” says the staff. “He faces strong competition of 435 Holly who not only has to feed herself, but as the mother of two cubs, also has other mouths to fill. In order to achieve the crown, however, they will have to displace reigning Fattest Bear and previous champion 480 Otis.”
Check out nine of the chubby bunnies for Fat Bear Week’s Fattest Bear below.
The official Fattest Bear 2018 will be crowned on Tuesday October 9, and you can see below the progress of the competition as at Friday October 5. No word on prizes for the winner other than the strongest chance of survival – and really, what else could anyone want?
“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, October 9th.”[related_articles]53461,45467[/related_articles]
Katmai National Park, home to around 2200 bears, is open for visitors all year, though the most popular months are June through October. Bear watching is possible (from a safe distance) from viewpoints on the Brooks River.
How to get there
- Fly Qantas to San Francisco
- Take a connecting Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage via Seattle
- Take an Air Taxi to Brooks Camp
- Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA
(All images: Katmai National Park & Preserve / Facebook)