“Fat Bear Week” is a weeklong, bracket-style elimination contest that pits the bulkiest bears of Katmai National Park against one another. At this time of the year bears are embracing their ursine urge to eat like there’s no tomorrow and fortify themselves for winter hibernation. The contest highlights the amazing transformation bears must make after they emerge from hibernation, emaciated and hungry. From the middle of summer to the fall, an average male adult can go from weighing 600-900 pounds to well over 1,000 pounds. Scroll down to see the best contestants from this and previous years!
Just as previous years, the competition is stiff this year: Otis, a large adult bear with the record for most “Fat Bear Week” wins at four, is back to defend his title. He once ate 42 salmon in one sitting, and his fishing skills and patience are hard to beat. But Bear 747, winner of “Fat Bear Week” 2020, always gives Otis a decent competition. He is one of the largest bears on earth, weighing as much as 1,400 pounds. Most bears know they can’t compete with him, but Otis refuses to be intimidated. You can find out about participants on this website in the “meet the bears” section. It’s an enticing read.
The bears’ backstories are also a great way for the park to educate the public about the wide range of bear behaviors, from their fishing and survival strategies to how they interact with other animals. So this fat bear extravaganza is not only fun to watch, but also educational. Simply brilliant!
One of the educational pieces you can learn is that hibernation is not as simple as the animals merely going to sleep. The bear’s heart rate lowers, the activity obviously is very minimal and it truly is just their body utilizing that fat to keep this baseline going. If the bears don’t have adequate fat stored, some may even die during hibernation. That’s why the fattest bears have the best chance at survival. When spring rolls around, they’ll be able to emerge from their dens to continue their life cycle. And for one lucky bear, it will mean emerging as a champion.
If you are planning to visit Katmai National Park anytime soon, you might be interested in this sleeping bag onesie that lets you quickly run away from bears.
5 thoughts on ““Fat Bear Week” Contest Finds The Alaska’s Bulkiest Bear of 2022”
They are looking ready for a long sleep. I love that animals.
they would destroy a sushi restaurant!
I want to be reincarnated as a bear. Sleep all winter long? Best seasonal affective disorder remedy!
Lucky bears. Plenty of food and a long rest ahead.
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