April 17, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

Fat Bear Week Is Here Again to Soothe Your Soul

2 min read
Fat Bear Week Is Here Again to Soothe Your Soul


Bears at the Katmai National Park and Preserve this summer lining up to eat salmon climbing up a waterfall.

Bears at the Katmai National Park and Preserve this summer lining up to eat salmon climbing up a waterfall.
Image: /Katmai National Park and Preserve

It’s time once again to pay tribute to the utmost of ursines. That’s right, it’s yet another annual installment of Fat Bear Week. People will get the chance to vote for 12 of the plumpest brown bears living at the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska all through next week. The contestants include grizzled veterans like Holly and 747 as well as hungry newcomers like 806 Jr. and Electra.

Fat Bear Week officially kicked off in 2014, though it was originally just a day. It’s meant to celebrate the yearly summer pounds that Alaskan brown bears have to pack on to survive the brutally cold winters as they hibernate.

Bears in North America have lost parts of their historic range over the years, though conservation efforts have been successful in reclaiming some of their habitat. Some local populations continue to struggle, but brown bears as a whole are not considered endangered, and the bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve are especially thriving, thanks to the ample resources of food like sockeye salmon available there. The largest bears can weigh over 1,200 pounds by summer’s end, but size alone does not make a Fat Bear Week champion. Voters are reminded that they can choose their bears based on any criteria they like.

Last year, bear 747, aka “Bear Force One,” won the crown for the second time in three years, though not without some controversy. During the semi-final matchup between 747 and Holly, herself a well loved former champ, park officials determined that several thousand fraudulent ballots were cast for Holly and ultimately ruled that 747 had won fair and square. The election mishap has now prompted the use of captcha software to mitigate further fraud.

Both 747 and Holly (presumably declared innocent of any malfeasance) are in this year’s contest, along with vets like Otis and Chunk. Making his debut this year is 806’s spring cub, fresh off a victory in last week’s Fat Bear Jr. contest. 806 Jr. has already crushed his first round opponent, bear 428, and will next face Chunk Friday. Another first timer is Bear 284, Electra, who will compete against bear 164, Bucky Dent, today.

The single-elimination contest will continue until October 10. Voting each day goes from 12 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time and can be done via this link here.



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