Fat Bear Week Tournament Getting Tense As We Enter The Quarter Finals

Good news everybody, it's Fat Bear Week.

All summer, the bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, have been gorging themselves in preparation for a long winter's hibernation. Having successfully packed on the pounds, it's time for the public to celebrate their achievement.

Every year, as is tradition, the Internet votes for the bear they deem to be the fattest. Last year Beadnose (pictured below) won the honor of being crowned the fattest bear. Unfortunately, she hasn't been spotted in the park this year, so she won't be partaking in the competition. Will previous champions 747 or Chunk take her place? Only you can decide.

Beadnose, who looks like a bear that definitely knows she's being photographed for something titled Fat Bear Week. Katmai National Park and Preserve

The competition takes the form of a knockout tournament, with two bears going head-to-head each round. You vote by giving a like to whichever bear you deem to be the biggest round boi.

The first round was quite tense, with a lot of absolute units not making the cut after being knocked out by some hefty wagons.

Otis lost to Lefty and it wasn't even close. Katmai National Park and Preserve

The bears each have their own technique for the weight-gain competition.

"Today's first match-up features a nervous nelly vs. a cool customer. Known as the head-bobbing lip-fisher, 775 Lefty entertained many a Brooks Camp visitor with his fishing prowess," Katmai National Park and Preserve wrote on Facebook.

"775 Lefty didn’t settle for leftovers. His spot on the river fed him a slippery salmon buffet. Two-time Fat Bear Week champion, 480 Otis, gets his substantial size by practicing a 'move less, eat more' fishing technique. This zen master's famous figure has earned him this spot in the fat bear bracket for the 5th time."

Whatever methods they use, the bears need to gain a lot of weight if they want to survive the winter. In the fall, brown bears can eat up to 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of food each day, and weigh up to twice as much before hibernation as they do after. To give you a sense of that, here's a gif showing last year's winner.


If you think the ones you've seen so far are heffers, you are mistaken. Coming up in the next round of the tournament are some real chonks, as we meet some of the bears who have put on so much weight they have been seeded, like Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, for being clear front-runners in the competition.

The quarter finals begin today. Katmai National Park and Preserve

One to keep an eye on is bear 435, Holly, who will face off against 909 on Saturday, if this photo of her "beardonkadonk" is anything to go by.


From the sound of what Alaskan bear-viewing guide Drew Hamilton told Mashable, she is the one to watch.

"You almost get the sense watching her that she’s getting fatter before your eyes," he told the website. "I watch bears professionally. I see more bears than just about anybody out there. This is next level."

Place your bets everyone, and head over to the Katmai National Park and Preserve Facebook page to watch the drama unfold.


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