It’s been a long old year, but finally, Fat Bear Week is upon us once again.
This annual competition does pretty much what it says on the tin. Fans of chonky bears can pick their very favourite fat bear from a beautiful and very cuddly selection, with perusing being half the fun.
Honestly, I’m completely spoiled for choice this year and will have to take my time reading each unique bio. Who among us after all could resist snuggling up to ‘curious and playful’ Bear 503? Or be gymspired by Popeye, whose muscular, hairy arms are truly something to behold?
Fat Bear Week runs from September 29 right up until October 5, with voters choosing ‘the fattest of the fat’.
Adorably hairy pictures aside, there is an important message behind this annual event, which emphasises ‘celebrating their success in preparation for winter hibernation’.
As per the Fat Bear Week website:
Each winter, curled snug in their dens, brown bears endure a months-long famine. During hibernation, bears will not eat or drink and can lose one-third of their body weight.
Their winter survival depends on accumulating ample fat reserves before entering the den. Katmai’s brown bears are at their fattest in late summer and early fall after a summer spent trying to satisfy their profound hunger.
The bear-y gorgeous contestants reside in Katmai National Park, Alaska, where they fish for salmon in the Brooks River from late June up until mid October.
This contest is a process of elimination, whereby for every set of two bears, you need to ‘vote for the bear who you think is the fattest’.
Of course, there are a number of factors involved with this rather subjective competition, and it’s really up to you to determine who the fattest bear is, as per the website:
You can consider a bear’s annual growth like that experienced by cubs and subadult (teenage) bears. Subadult bears and cubs grow proportionally more each year than even the biggest adults.
Perhaps you want to weigh your vote toward bears with extenuating circumstances such as a mother’s cost of raising cubs or the additional challenges older bears face as they age.
A mother bear’s ability to gain weight is made more difficult because she must provide for herself and the welfare of her cubs, while an older bear can have difficulty finding access to its preferred fishing spots due to competition with larger and younger bears. You can also vote for the bear you think is the simply the largest and fattest.
At the moment, I’m swinging towards Holly, whose pleasing appearance very much resembles ‘the shape and colour of a toasted marshmallow’. However, I’m also impressed by the confidence of Grazer, who ‘often pre-emptively confronts and attacks much larger bears’.
You can vote for your favourite fat bear here.
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