Wild Brown bear (Ursus Arctos Arctos) in the summer forest. Natural green Background


Wild Brown bear (Ursus Arctos Arctos) in the summer forest. Natural green Background

Photo by: USO


We’re Weighing In On The Heaviest Competition of the Season: Fat Bear Week

By: Discovery

All the bear booties of the world, unite for Fat Bear Week.

September 30, 2021

Yeah, it’s back. And looking beefier than ever. This week kicks off the annual Fat Bear Week competition, a national celebration of the furry friends of Katmai National Park, located at Brooks River in Alaska. Since 2015, the contest has allowed bear-lovers to vote for the chunkiest of them all and predict who they think will pack on the most pounds by the end of the week.

So what’s all of this eating about? Well, it all has to do with a cyclical pattern of hibernation and hyperphagia, which means “extreme hunger.” Each winter, brown bears endure a months-long famine that results in the loss of one-third of their body weight. One-third! Their survival during this period depends on their accumulation of enough fat reserves before entering the den. At Katmai, these bears are among the heaviest in late summer and early fall after spending an entire season appeasing their hunger - and they’re not afraid to show it!

Check out some of these “Before and Afters” from this year’s bracket of competitors.

Fat Bear Week has been around since 2015, and some of the top competitors are back in the arena to defend their titles. Fan favorites include Chunk, a large adult male with a knack to challenge his fierce companions, and his most revered competitor, 747, who took the title as 2020’s thickest king.

There are also quite a few newcomers on the sidelines. One bear-y young, nine-month-old cub named 132 will make his debut on Friday, October 1, and is predicted to gain steady body mass over the next few weeks.

Who will take the cake? You can learn more about the event by visiting explore.org/fat-bear-week, and following all of the fun on Instagram with @fatbearweek and @katmaiconservancy.

Next Up

Yellowstone’s Oldest Bear was a Whopping 34 Years Old

The oldest grizzly thought to have roamed the Yellowstone region was identified as being a whopping 34 years old, after biologists spotted a mark on his lip made in 1989.

The King of Chunks Has Been Crowned

A four-time champion, 480 Otis proved that age is just a number and appetite is the real judge of awesomeness.

Ancient Rock Art of the Mojave National Preserve

My first expedition to Mojave National Preserve, California, was an epic adventure that felt ripped right off the pages of an Indiana Jones movie. An ancient cave in an unassuming desert landscape that at high noon, reveals shafts of light into a soft, sandy cave, like an underground sundial.

The Mission to Save Grizzly Bear Cubs

When a mother bear is killed, what happens to her cubs? A team of scientists may have found a solution — an orphanage for grizzly bears.

Bring It On, Mount Whitney

Climbing the world’s highest peaks tests every aspect of your being, and as a nature photographer, it can test your skill.

There is Hope for the Future of Polar Bears Threatened by Climate Change

Scientific researchers have recently identified a sub-population of polar bears in southeastern Greenland that survive by hunting on glacial slush. The discovery of their unique behaviors is helping scientists understand the future of this species whose habitats are threatened by climate change.

Giant Pandas are No Longer Endangered

After decades of work trying to save the giant panda, Chinese officials have announced the species is no longer endangered.

A Trip to a Remote Island in California to Hunt for Big Black Sea Bass

It’s an unusually calm morning for Captain Jim Smith, owner of Ventura Dive & Sport, and lifelong seaman. He’s on board the Raptor, ferrying a boatload of divers and snorkeling enthusiasts over to the Channel Islands, an archipelago of islands that are anchored just off the Southern Californian coast, in the stunningly remote Channel Islands National Park.

New Research Reveals Cause of Death for 3 Million Birds

An estimated 3 million short-tailed shearwaters died along the coast of Australia in 2013. New research suggests humans and the 2012 Harve submarine eruption are to blame.

The American Wolf is Making a Comeback

The wolf evokes a strong reaction in most of us, whether it’s romantic images of the apex predator howling at the full moon, or anger at wolves encroaching on cattle grazing land.It’s a controversial topic, and so it’s even more important to sort fact from fiction.

Related To: