News Release

Bears of Brooks River 2019 and Fat Bear Week

Bear Book 2019 cover

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News Release Date: July 24, 2019

Contact: Karen Garthwait, 907-246-2137

Katmai National Park’s highly anticipated Bears of Brooks River 2019 e-book is now available for download. The “bear book” aims to help park visitors and fans of the explore.org Brown Bear Cams’ live feeds identify specific bears frequently seen at Brooks Camp. Knowing the life stories of individual bears gives park visitors and webcam viewers a much richer appreciation for and understanding of the behaviors they observe – and the ursine dramas those behaviors represent.

From Mike Fitz, explore.org naturalist and former Katmai park ranger: 

“We continue to see the stories of individual bears unfold along the river. Bear 402 utilizes her two decades of experience to raise her three yearlings while one young bear, 719, is experiencing motherhood for the first time. At Brooks Falls, the hierarchy continues to shuffle. Bear 856, a large and assertive adult male, continues to reign at the top, but he’s nearly 20 years old. How long will he be able to maintain his position as the river’s most dominant bear?” 


The explore.org webcams of Katmai showcase more than just brown bears. An outstanding seasonal migration of salmon is the reason that bears gather in such abundance here. Now that the early summer heatwave has passed, large numbers of salmon have been seen migrating up Brooks River to the falls again. Mike continues, “The number of salmon swimming into the Naknek River watershed has already exceeded all of last summer. The abundance of salmon underscores the importance, value, and rewards of protecting clean, healthy watersheds and managing fisheries sustainably.”

Fat Bear Week Preview
In addition to sharing Katmai with millions of Bear Cam viewers around the world, the park also looks forward to hosting the 5th annual Fat Bear Week contest in early October. This fun and virally famous event allows fans to celebrate the “gains” in pounds individuals bears have made in preparation for winter hibernation. Fat Bear Week 2019 is tentatively scheduled to begin Wednesday October 2 and conclude with the winner announced on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

Mike Fitz, founder of Fat Bear Week, recently observed, “Overall the bears who use Brooks River appear fat and healthy. I thought Fat Bear Week 2018 might be the fattest Fat Bear Week ever, but the “contestants” could beat that this year! Some already look ready to hibernate.” 



Last updated: July 24, 2019

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