At Katmai National Park and Preserve, the beginning of October can only mean one thing: Fat Bear Week.
To celebrate the beginning of hibernation season for the park’s brown bears, Katmai pits them all against each other on Facebook, asking the internet to vote on which bear they think has gained the most weight since coming out of their last hibernation.
In its fourth year, the competition now has a bracket for people to predict who they think will take home the crown on Fat Bear Tuesday.
Keep scrolling to meet this year’s chubbiest contenders – and the 2018 winner of Fat Bear Week.
October 3 marked Katmai National Park’s 4th Annual Fat Bear Week!
The park regularly posts hilarious photos and videos of the bears that reside in the park on Facebook – like this one of a bear belly-flopping off a waterfall.
You might be asking… what is Fat Bear Week? Well, it’s a joyous celebration of the bears that call the national park home, and of their frankly astounding weight gain over the past few months, which prepares them for hibernation.
In fact, they need to gain the weight, in order to survive – bears can lose up to a third of their body weight during hibernation.
Unfortunately, 151 Walker was knocked out during the first round by 409 Beadnose.
The park would like to make clear that “there’s no fat shaming here.” It’s all love for these bears and their extra junk in the trunk.
According to their website, “In brown bears, large amounts of body fat are indicative of good health and strong chances of survival. The bears need stores of fat to help them survive hibernation, which can last for up to half of the year.”
For the whole week, the park pitted the most commonly seen bears on their Bear Cam against each other, and asked voters to decide which bear has gained the most weight.
The Bear Cam has been available to the general public since 2012.
854 Divot made it to the final four, but was knocked out by 409 Beadnose.
The competition culminated on “Fat Bear Tuesday.” This year, that was Tuesday, October 9.
503 was knocked out by 854 Divot in the first round.
To get your votes in when Fat Bear Week comes around next year, all you’ll have to do is head to the Katmai National Park and Preserve’s official Facebook page, and like the photo of whichever bear you think deserves to win.
You can find their Facebook page here.
As the week went on, the park shared more photos of the furry contenders.
They have shared all 12 contestants as of October 6.
And while we wait for Fat Bear Week 2019, enjoy these truly delightful bears — they’re definitely ready to sleep for a few months.
409 Beadnose is a clear favourite – she easily knocked out 151 Walker in the first round. And now, she’s made it to the last round of the competition. Her last opponent was 747, who she easily beat to become this year’s Fattest Bear.
Round two of the competition commenced on October 5.
Meet 32 Chunk.
32 Chunk knocked out 812 during the first round – and made it all the way to the final four. But 747 knocked him out.
32 Chunk went up against 812, who definitely started out scrawny…
… but has really grown in the past few months. Alas, 812 didn’t make it past round one.
He’s definitely not the biggest, though.
One of the newest bears to the competition, 719, was introduced on October 4.
719 went up against two cubs in the first round.
719 faced some stiff competition.
She came out on top though. Sadly, 747 eliminated her during their round two match-up.
719’s first round opponents were the cubs of Bear 435, who isn’t part of Fat Bear Week.
In the words of William Shakespeare, “Though they be but little, they are fierce.”
But unfortunately, they were knocked out of the game in the first round.
Better luck next year.
A Friday addition, who was already guaranteed a second-round spot, is 480 Otis.
480 Otis went up against 409 Beadnose on Friday, October 5, and sadly lost.
435 Holly entered the fray in round two.
435 Holly put up a fight, but was unable to surpass 854 Divot’s sheer mass in round two.
A Saturday addition was 856.
856 didn’t start out as thin as some of the other bears.
856 went up against 32 Chunk and did not emerge victorious.
The last second round entry was 747.
747 was a worthy competitor.
747 overcame both 719 and 32 Chunk to earn a spot in the top two – but he couldn’t overcome 409 Beadnose.
But this year’s winner was none other than 409 Beadnose!
On Fat Bear Tuesday 2018, 409 Beadnose beat 747 by a landslide – she received double the votes.
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