Alaska’s ‘Fat Bear Week’ Is Back In All Its Full-Figured Glory For 2023
The annual phenomenon known as “Fat Bear Week” kicks off on Wednesday, October 4th at Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. This isn’t some cruel exercise in ursine body shaming. The event celebrates the brown bears packing on enough pounds, mostly in the form of sockeye salmon, to be comfortable during hibernation. It’s what they need to do to survive.
We humans get to have a little fun during “Fat Bear Week,” too. According to Explore.org, fans can vote for their favorite of the brown bears in a bracket-style competition. If you’re undecided, you can observe the massive mammals via live webcam and find your spirit bear that way.
Bears competing are given numbers and names. Bear 747 was the 2022 champion and is competing again this year. Last year, park officials estimated that 747 weighed over 1,400 pounds. Other 2023 contestants include Walker, Otis, Holly, Bucky, Grazer, and Chunk. The winner will be crowned the “2023 Fat Bear Week” champion on October 10th, also known as “Fat Bear Tuesday.”
You can start filling out brackets as head-to-head match-ups are announced during a live chat on the official website. You can also see some of the bears chowing down on the Explore.org Instagram page. By they way, because “Fat Bear Week” is held at a national park, this year’s event almost didn’t happen due to the threat of a government shutdown in Washington. Thankfully, the folks in Congress got their act together three hours before the deadline.