Fat Bear Week pits the brown bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve against each other in a contest to determine the most pleasingly plump. (Check out pics that include some of the radiantly rotund competitors below.)
It’s all in fun, of course, to celebrate the beauty and health of the bears, who are porking out on salmon to prepare for the hibernation ahead. Bears can lose up to a third of their weight in their winter slumber, so it’s important that they gorge to stay gorgeous.
Katmai has posted the March Madness-like bracket and already tabulated a few winners. But it isn’t too late to vote for winners in the later rounds. The competition crowns its most corpulent on “Fat Bear Tuesday,” Oct. 5.
Good luck to all the ursine contenders and remember: no gain, no reign!
Brown bear 747, aka Bear Force One, is the defending champion. He shows off his winning form from 2020 (above.)
This cub’s baby fat will come in handy during hibernation. Picture taken Sept. 5, 2021.
Brown bear 128 waded into stiff competition for Fat Bear Week. Picture taken Sept. 11, 2021.
Bear Force One shows he’s ready to eat up the competition again. Picture taken Sept. 14, 2021.
Brown bear 151 fishing for a Fat Bear Week championship. Picture taken Sept. 13, 2021.
Brown bear 435 ― un-fur-tunately now eliminated from competition ― stands next to a river hunting for salmon to fatten up before hibernation. Picture taken Sept. 11, 2021.
Brown bear 503 fattens up ahead of Fat Bear Week. Picture taken Sept. 16, 2021.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter