News Release

River, river in the Fall, who’s the fattest bear of all?

Image is of a chart that shows the competition brackets for bears for the 2019 Katmai Fat Bear event.
Katmai National Park and Preserve Fat Bear Week 2019


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News Release Date: September 30, 2019

Contact: Amber Kraft, 907-246-2137

King Salmon, AK – Not even the fabled magic mirror knows who will be crowned the fattest bear on the Brooks River because you get to decide instead! Only time and voters on Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Facebook page will tell. Wednesday, October 2nd kicks off Fat Bear Week 2019!

The annual March Madness-style competition, now in its fifth year, pits some of the well-known bears of the Brooks River against one another for the title of 2019 Fattest Bear. Bear Cam viewers and fans of Katmai’s bears are the ones who decide which bear looks the fattest. The public is encouraged to vote on Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Facebook page in head-to-head matches each day beginning October 2nd. The bear whose photo receives the most likes will advance to the next round, until one bear is crowned “Fattest Bear” on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 8th.

There is no shame in winning this contest as large amounts of body fat in brown bears is indicative of good health and strong chances of survival. The bears need stores of fat to help them survive their Sleeping Beauty impersonations. 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. In preparation, the bears are entering hyperphagia this time of year, a state in which they eat nearly non-stop; hopefully no witches show up with suspect looking apples during this time.

Thanks to the tremendous popularity of Katmai's webcams, the audience for Fat Bear Week gets bigger every year. Since 2012, Bear Cam viewers have had a front row seat to the lives of the bears at Brooks Falls. The live streams allow millions of people around the world to gain virtual access to this remote park and its abundant wildlife. Katmai National Park and Preserve hosts one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world and it is Katmai’s tremendous runs of sockeye salmon that keep these bears coming back, year after year. To view the bears live checkout

Top contenders this year include bear 747, whose name and heft conjure up images of jumbo jets. He faces strong competition from bear 435 Holly and bear 128 Grazer, two females that have been very successful in packing on the pounds and might even bring a new litter of cubs into their dens this winter. 2018’s reigning queen, bear 409 Beadnose, has declined to compete this year so it’s anybody’s game in 2019. Who will you tell the magic mirror to crown victorious this year?

Voting for the first head-to-head match-up begins on October 2nd on Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Facebook page at: Make sure to vote to try giving your favorite fat bear a fairytale send off to hibernation!


- NPS -  

Last updated: September 30, 2019

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