This weeklong celebration in Alaska is too good to be true.
Located on the northern Alaskan Peninsula about 290 air miles from Anchorage, Katmai National Park and Preserve is home thousands of brown bears and most notably the world-famous Katmai bear cams. The live streaming service, which has been in use since 2012, has gained international popularity with fans tuning in to catch a glimpse of their favorite fat bears. Right before winter, as we all know, those fat bears get even fatter.
The bears are filling themselves up with sockeye salmon to gear up for the long hibernation, but before all the bears find a place to slumber, viewers have the chance to vote on which bear is the chubbiest of all, and with it, crown the bear as the winner of Fat Bear Week 2018.
The competition of fat bears, now in its fourth year, is played in a March Madness-style throughout the entire week. Twelve of the fattest bears from the Explore.org bearcam will be battled in face-off's facilitated by the Katmai National Park & Preserve facebook page and it's your duty to vote for the fattest bear.
To start, grab your bracket and possibly a bagel topped with a heaping amount of salmon lox. Meet the contestants.
1. 151 Walker
A younger bear, Walker is known for his upturned nose and muzzle along with dark circles around his eyes.
2. 409 Beadnose
Beadnose has raised a lot of cubs in her past, and one of which she abandoned this past year. However, it seems to look as if this year she was able to devote all of her time to eat.
3. 854 Divot
This momma bear bears (ha) a ring-like scar around her neck where she was caught in a wolf trap one day while walking outside of the park. Rangers had to tranquilize her to remove it.
The adopted cub of Holly, 503 is a playful young adult bear who loves to steal fish from larger unsuspecting bears.
Young adult 812 is a romantic at heart. At one point this summer he was seen sharing fishes with a young female bear.
6. 32 Chunk
Chunk is a heavily dominant male always looking to compete.
A teenager, 719 may be small but is sure to plump up by the fall.
8. 435's Cubs
Known as the "chubby cubbies" these female cubs are playful and love to eat.
9. 480 Otis
Almost twenty years old, Otis is one of the oldest bears in the contest but that doesn't stop him from winning. A three-time champion, Otis is usually found in the same place on the river.
10. 435 Holly
Holly is one of the most famous bears in the park. She adopted an orphaned cub while also producing her own offspring. She is known for her very light claws, short muzzle, and very blonde coat. This year her two yearlings as well as her adopted cub, Bear 503, are in the running.
Named one of the most dominant bears of the Brooks River, 856 is quick to fight and his scars prove it.
Just like a plane, this bear is one of the biggest on the river. Due to his size, most bears get out of the way when they see him coming. Last June observers watched as he ate 16 salmon in one sitting...that's 67,000 calories.
To cast your votes make sure to check out the Katmai National Park & Preserve Facebook page through October 9th for Fat Bear Tuesday when the winner will be announced.