Katmai National Park trading in ‘March Madness’ for ‘Fat Bear Tuesday’

Who’s the fattest bear of all?

Katmai National Park in Alaska wants you to tell them that.

They have brought back their annual March Madness-style competition called “Fat Bear Week” where they are asking people to cast their vote in head to head matches each day for the fattest bear on the Brooks River in Alaska.

It’s the fifth year for the annual competition that includes a very detailed March Madness bracket including competitors like “Chunk” and “Grazer.”

The contest ends on “Fat Bear Tuesday,” which is set for Oct. 8.

The National Park Service said that there’s no shame in winning the contest as large amounts of body fat in brown bears is indicative of good health and strong chances of survival.

During winter hibernation, which can last for up to half of the year in their den, a bear could lose up to one third of its body mass, according to a news release.

The audience for Fat Bear Week grows like the bears’ waistlines every year. You can watch “bear cam” as the bears fuel up for the competition on the Katmai National Park webcams.

Katmai National Park and Preserve, and its large sockeye salmon population, hosts one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world, according to the release.

Voting is now open on the Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Facebook page.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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