In the Alaskan bear community, there’s no such thing as fat shaming. When you’re the fattest bear in town, you not only guarantee a healthy hibernation, but also earn the prestige that comes with winning Fat Bear Week. On October 3rd, Katmai National Park and Preserve in King Salmon, Alaska, kicked off its tribute to its heftiest bears with this annual weeklong celebration of ursine girth. Organized in a bracket system, bears commonly seen on the park’s Bear Cam are pitted against each other for public voting, until one bear is deemed the fattest.
The tradition began back in 2014, when park rangers asked visitors to vote on which bear was the fattest. Now, the park has developed a more sophisticated voting system, presenting two bears each day to the public, who can decide which one moves on to the next round.
One bear to watch is Bear 747. According to the park’s website, his “belly barely makes clearance with the ground,” and he’ll be a lead contender this year to unseat last year’s champion, Bear 480 Otis. Bear 409 Beadnose is also portly enough to win this year’s title.
And don’t worry, these bears aren’t weight conscious. Being a hefty brown bear is a sign of good health. To survive the winter they require sufficient stores of fat, which means they need to be eating constantly. If anything, Fat Bear Week is the perfect incentive to motivate bears to prepare for winter.
The contest runs until October 9th (today!) at 7:00 PM Eastern when the winner will be decided.
H/T: Travel & Leisure