12 brown bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska have been packing on the pounds to prepare for hibernation.
They're looking for more than just the "bear necessities"! The brown bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve have been eating extra to prepare for hibernation while people from around the world vote for the fattest bear as part Fat Bear Week. Over the summer, each bear consumes at least 500 lbs of salmon from the park's Brooks River on the 8 million acre reserve in Alaska. Through a series of webcams, people can watch these bears as they accumulate a "preponderance of pudge," according to the organisers, reports BBC.
🐻 HAPPY FAT BEAR TUESDAY!🐻— explore.org (@exploreorg) October 11, 2022
The polls are now open for our fat bear finale.
747 vs. 901: both of them are fat, but only one of them can be the ultimate Fat Bear Week champion.
Ready, set, vote at https://t.co/Jl79YciHHZ pic.twitter.com/9XljVo8Dmi
The annual contest is "a way to celebrate the resilience, adaptability and strength of Katmai's brown bears," Katmai previously said on its website, reports CNN. The website points out that "Katmai’s brown bears are at their fattest in late summer and early fall. It is the end-product of their summer-long effort to satisfy their profound hunger and prepare for winter hibernation. During hibernation, bears do 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."
The votes are in- you’ve decided to upgrade to fish class & fly w/ 747!— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 12, 2022
747 was deemed an order of magnitude more massive than 901, who experienced troubling tummy turbulence enroute. 901 made a strong start in her 1st #FatBearWeek appearance. Expect big things in the future! pic.twitter.com/i6IPy2ajEw
As for the competition, voting began on October 5 and closed on Tuesday night on October 11. And the results are in... The winner is Bear 747 who won the most votes, beating challenger 901. Bear 747 is said to be one of the biggest brown bears on Earth, possibly weighing as much as 1,400 pounds (635 kg), according to the bear's profile on Explore.org. It added that "747 typically keeps his status by sheer size alone. He shows that skill and size influence success in the bear world." According to runner-up 901's profile "she fishes throughout Brooks River and sometimes is keen to defend her fishing spots from other bears. As a young adult in 2022, she continued to refine her fishing and social skills. This is a lifelong process for brown bears, but it is particularly important for young adult females. Bear 901 may soon experience a new challenge: raising cubs."
The Washington Post reports Lian Law, a visual information specialist at Katmai, revealed that when you see the animals in person, 747 undoubtedly looks to be double the size of 901. Speaking of the winner, Mike Fitz, Fat Bear Week creator and Explore.org resident naturalist, said on Fat Bear Tuesday, “You’re looking at one of the largest bears in the world. We don’t know exactly how big he is, but he is a giant among bears ... it may be a long time before we see another bear as big as him.” Fitz who initiated the competition back in 2014 said voters make the choice based on what they see. “There’s no real set criteria that you’re supposed to vote on,” said Fitz. “You could vote on just simply the largest bear, or look at relative fatness or consider the extenuating circumstances of each bear’s life like the challenges of raising offspring.”