KING SALMON, Alaska (WAVY) – One of the biggest (and fattest) events of the year has returned!
Wednesday marked the start of 2021 Fat Bear Week at Katmai National Park in Alaska, where more than 2,000 brown bears live and eat a whole bunch of salmon.
Each year the park holds the online contest to crown its fattest brown bear, which are at their chunkiest in late summer and early fall. They need those extra pounds to get through a months-long hibernation. At Katmai, that means eating up to about 30 salmon a day from the Brooks River.
The single-elimination tournament from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 is pretty simple: Fat bear fans click on which one they think is the fattest in head-to-head matchups. The bear with the most votes advances.
In 2020, 640,000 votes in total were cast. Voting runs each day from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
Bear 747, last year’s champion, is competing again this year. The large adult male is estimated to weigh more than 1,400 pounds. Other bears include 32 Chunk, last year’s runner up; 435 Holly, a female bear who was the 2019 champ; and 3-time winner 480 Otis.
This year also brought the first Fat Bear Junior competition, featuring the chubbiest cubs at the park. Bear 132 took the top spot “with flab and floof.”
Here it is: 132 is actually in the adult bracket as well.
After you vote, you can watch a livestream of the bears here.