It’s Fat Bear Week, and you decide who gets crowned Alaska’s most sinister champion

Fat Bear Week competitor 480 Otis shows some roly-poly action in this photo from September 16, 2021.

C. Spencer / NPS

Your oasis of joy for 2021 has arrived. It’s Fat Bear Week, and that means it’s time to revel in the prospect of fat, hunky brown bears while you help pick a winner. Only the fullest and toughest bear will win victoriously. Your voice is important.

Fat Bear Week is a joint effort from Katmai National Park & ​​Preserve in Alaska and nature livecam site Explore.org. It raises awareness of the park’s bears and celebrates how they overthrow salmon and pack the pounds to survive their hibernation.

This year’s competition runs from Wednesday to October 5. You can vote for the Fat Bear Week spot in head-to-head (or bulge-to-bulge) matchups. Voting remains open between 9 and 18 every day PT.

You can choose your champ based solely on which bear looks coolest, or you can take other factors into account, e.g. How mother bears should feed themselves and their young and therefore may not become as heavy as some of the other bears.

Wednesday’s poll gives champion in 2019 435 Holly, “Queen of Corpulence,” against 128 Grazer, “the dominant doy of the falls.” The second matchup is between the “husky hunk” 634 Popeye and the abundantly bulging 151 Walker. Before and after pictures show how much bulk each bear has taken on during the year.

Not to affect your voice, but both Grazer and Walker look amazingly plump this year. Be sure to read the bear’s bios to learn about their backgrounds and identify your favorites among the competition. For live views of the animals having their salmon feasts, check out Explore.org’s livestreams from Brooks River.

Last year’s winner was absolute unit 747, known for its adoring fans as “Bear Force One”. He is back again and ready to fight for his crown with an estimated weight of more than 1,435 pounds (635 kilos).

Every pound of pudge matters when it comes to the long winter that awaits. Although a bear will reign supreme at the end of the week, every fat bear is already a winner.

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