There's a Fat Contest Going On in an Alaska National Park

12 Alaska heavyweights are competing for title
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
There's a Fat Contest Going On in an Alaska National Park
A strong contender at Brooks River.   (Getty Images/N8tureGrl)

If you're fed up with the election, there's another contest taking place in America. The annual "fat bear week" competition is underway in Alaska as the brown bears at Katmai National Park prepare for hibernation, the Guardian reports. The Fat Bear Week website lists 12 contenders, including last year's champ, Holly, nicknamed the "Queen of Corpulence"; Otis, a three-time winner and "master of patience and efficiency"; and a bear with the appropriate name of Chunk. Voting is taking place this week on the heavyweight contenders, who have been separated in to March Madness-style brackets. The winner will be selected on Oct. 6, "Fat Bear Tuesday."

Voters can make their choice by viewing the six webcams set up around Brooks River, where the bears have been gorging themselves on salmon for months, reports the Washington Post. The Guardian notes that due to a process called hyperphagia, it is impossible for the bears to feel full, meaning they can easily pack on hundreds of pounds. Some of them weigh more than 1,000 pounds by mid-October. Around a third of that weight will be lost during hibernation. "Their winter survival depends on accumulating ample fat reserves before entering the den," the contest website says. "Katmai’s brown bears are at their fattest in late summer and early fall after a summer spent trying to satisfy their profound hunger." (More bear stories.)

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