Fat Bear Week Is Upon Us

Alaska’s Katmai National Park & Preserve is kicking off fall with a HUGE event.

by posted on September 23, 2021
747 Fat Bear 2020
2020 Fat Bear Week champion: 747. National Park Service Photo/N. Boak

Forget fake fantasy football teams and blindly built basketball brackets … what cubs, sows and boars are you voting for in Fat Bear Week?

Fat Bear Week is a “celebration of success” put on by Katmai National Park & Preserve. With some of the healthiest sockeye salmon in the world right in their backyard, Katmai’s brown bears are exceptionally fat. So why not celebrate that fact with a March-Madness-style bracket competition to see who fat bear fans crown Katmai’s fattest bear?

Fat Bear Jr.
The event kicks off today, September 23, 2021, with open voting on the chubbiest cub in this head-to-head elimination round for Fat Bear Jr. Vote for the fluffiest, the chunkiest or the cub that showed the most annual progress. For this warm-up junior round, “if you win, you’re in!” The spring cub winner will face off against the winning yearling resulting in the Fat Bear Jr. Champion.

Fat Bear Week Bracket
On September 27, 2021, the official Fat Bear Week bracket will be revealed. As the heavyweights roll in, start to pick your favorites. Keep in mind that female bears are bulking up to care for their young and survive the entire winter with no food or drink. Male bears are also putting on the pounds to be in peak hibernating condition, but they also have to find mates and secure the best fishing spots.

The Polls Open
Voting begins on September 29, 2021. Start casting your votes in daily bear vs. bear matchups. You can cheer on the competitors by watching the live bear cams stationed on the Brooks River. We don’t know exactly how much the bears weigh, but that’s what keeps the competition fun and wholesome: The most overly obese bear is picked solely on votes! Last year there were over 600,000 votes cast.

The Fattest Bear
The Fat Bear Week Champion will be named on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Congratulations will be in order; we are talking about some seriously big bears. During peak pre-winter season, competitors can gain up to 4 lbs. a day and weigh in at over 1,000 lbs. Don’t feel bad for the losers though; all fat bears will be winners this winter when they are cozy in their dens. Surviving the season is the ultimate consolation prize!

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