UPDATE: The winner of 2018's fat bear week competition has been named. It's bear 409, also known as Beadnose. Congratulations to all the competitors!
The bears are fat and you know what that means: now it is time again to choose the very fattest bear of all.
Every year, the Katmai National Park & Preserve in southern Alaska celebrates its rotund ursine friends with a contest for the fattest bear. For these brown bears, the fatter the better, because body fat means strong chances of survival as they hibernate through the winter, so the park shares images of its bears and their glorious pudge on social media, where fans can vote on the fattest bear.
Each day, two bears are pitted against one another and the bear voted fattest moves on to the next round. On Tuesday, October 9th, one bear will be victorious and “crowned the 2018 Fat Bear Tuesday Champion,” the park Facebook page declares. The portly big boi Otis has claimed the title two out of the last three years, and is a strong contender again for 2018.
The first round pits one girthy guy against one luscious lady: Walker and Beadnose. One of these fluffernuts will move on to the next round, which will be posted this afternoon on the park’s Facebook page.
Every winter, these bears hibernate for up to seven months, and during that time they must survive entirely off of their body fat stores. That means they have to eat about a year’s worth of food in just six months, so it’s a really good sign when they are nicely plump come October, just ahead of hibernation. And as silly as the competition may seem, getting the public excited about the health and wellbeing of bears is essential to ensuring their future conservation. So go ahead, judge these big boys’ (and girls’) bodies, it’s for a great cause.