If 2020’s endless slog is getting you down, I come “bearing” some good news — Fat Bear Week is back and it is exactly what it sounds like.
Once a year, officials from Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve set out to determine the fattest and best bear on the local Brooks River. It’s a “March Madness”-style bracket, with a dozen over-sized ursidae battling it out to see who’s the fattest of them all is.
It’s like sports, but instead of worrying about leagues’ COVID-19 protocols or the dangers of very large men running into each other with helmets on, you just get to look at pictures of incredibly fat bears and vote for your favourite.
This year’s bracket runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 and pits newcomers like Chunk against two-time Fat Bear Week champion Otis.
Here's how to participate in #FatBearWeek: this is an elimination tournament to determine who will be crowned 2020's fattest bear on the Brooks River. For each pairing of bears, you will be given the opportunity to vote on our new #FatBearWeek website, https://t.co/bcJqAzVU3Fpic.twitter.com/wCQTu4zUmM— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) September 29, 2020
Voting is open online for a new face-off every day. The first daily match is posted at 12 p.m. EDT, with the second match posted at 4 p.m.. Voting on each pairing is open until 10 p.m. every day.
After 11 bears are eliminated, the winner will be declared on “Fat Bear Tuesday,” which is Oct. 6. And, frankly, Fat Bear Tuesday should be a stat holiday at this point.
This year’s chunky champion will have a lot to live up to with a high bar set by last year’s winner Holly, who was dubbed the “Queen of Corpulence.”
Over 187,000 votes were cast in last year’s competition.
What makes a good fat bear? It’s a lot of salmon, berries and hard work on the part of the bear. This time of year, bears go through hyperphagia in preparation for hibernation, meaning it’s impossible to feel full. They put on a bunch of weight that...