Fat Bear Week is here!

October 4, 2022 • 1:15 pm

Fat Bear Week and Nobel Prize Week are often concurrent, as they are this year, and I find them of equal interest, because I love the big fat bears putting on weight for hibernation. The competition starts TOMORROW, so go and vote as soon as you can. These ursids get pretty damn chubby, and some are positive chonks. Eight of them are in competition for the big victory on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 11.

This is from the National Park Service site on Fat Bear Week (click on screenshot):

And the necessary information:

How it works

Rangers create a March-Madness style bracket pitting individual bears against each other. The public then votes to see who will advance each round. Voting takes place over several days on www.fatbearweek.org. People may vote using any criteria they see fit. In the end, one bear will reign supreme.

2022 Fat Bear Week

This year, Fat Bear Week starts on October 5 and concludes on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 11. In addition to voting during this week-long tournament, there will be a series of online chats on explore.org featuring Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai. These chats focus on both the individual bears and Katmai’s healthy ecosystem. Throughout the season, you can also tune in to the explore.org bear cams, which offer unprecedented access to the lives of the bears of Brooks River. There are also special live events on a variety of topics hosted weekly throughout the season.

Who’s who in the bracket? Check out the competitors and their early season/late season photos here.

More photos can be found on Katmai’s Flickr site.

Schedule of events:

September 26: Fat Bear Junior Bracket revealed on social media
September 28: Live Chat at 3pm AK – Bear Language with information about the Fat Bear Junior competitors*
September 29 – 30: Fat Bear Junior voting open**
October 3: Live Chat at 3pm AK – Fat Bear Week Bracket Reveal*
October 4: Premiere of Fat Bear Week in the Classroom chat at 8am AK*
October 5: Live Chat at 3pm AK – Welcome to Fat Bear Week*
October 5 – 11 Fat Bear Week voting open**
October 11: Live Chat at 3pm AK – Fat Bear Tuesday (end of Fat Bear Week)*

You can see some of the matchups here, and see photos of each bear before and after fattening here.

For each pair during the competition, you tap on the bear you like best (one vote per pair per person)—presumably that would be the fattest bear, or the bear that has gained the most weight over the season, unless you’re some kind of weirdo who likes skinny bears that might not survive hibernation.

Look at some of these chonks from the “meet the bears” page:

Here’s “901”:

“909’s yearling”.  This two-year-old cub became quite a prolific fisherman:

Grazer (#128):

Remember, it is you the voters who determine which bears make their way to the final mano a mano pairing, and which one wins. May the fattest bear be the champion!

h/t: Erik, Laurie

5 thoughts on “Fat Bear Week is here!

  1. Gotta love Fat Bear week. Going to Brooks Camp to watch the bears is on my list of places to go. It is a bit costly, however. There are other places you can watch bears feed on salmon, but none are as spectacular as Brooks Falls.

  2. TNX. Checked them all out on the site and having fun with this. As always – appreciating the wild life.

  3. For anyone unfamiliar, from mid June on there are 4 or 5 cameras positioned along a half mile stretch of the river showing live action of these wild bears. One camera is underwater. At times there are forty bears gathered around the falls catching sockeye and silver salmon. The salmon runs are healthy with record numbers the last two years. I’ve also seen wolves, moose, wolverines, and several bird species.

    The action becomes more interesting as you learn to identify individual bears. Last year Otis (480), likely the most beloved bear of them all, hadn’t appeared during the first month of viewing. Since Otis is quite old, many feared he was gone for good. But in late July a severely emaciated Otis finally showed up – and with his legendary Zen patience and fishing skills went on to become Fat Bear Champion.

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