Time is running out to vote for the fattest bear in Alaska | TribLIVE.com

Time is running out to vote for the fattest bear in Alaska

Mary Ann Thomas
Courtesy of the National Parks Service
Webcam shot of the bears feeding at Katmai National Park in Alaska.

Katmai National Park and Reserve knows how to have a good time with its brown bears.

In addition to a live webcam, catching all of the action of bears catching and feeding on salmon at the Brooks River, the park holds a fattest bear contest, complete with brackets and elimination rounds with the public voting online via Facebook.

In its fifth year, the March Madness-style competition picks from a field of bears who feed at the Brooks River.

The annual competition shines a light on the importance of the bear’s health: “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,” according to a park service press release.

The bears need to be overweight as they head into hibernation for about a half year. Potentially they can lose up to one-third of their body mass when they go into their winter dens, according to the park service.

The numerous bears that feed on the salmon at Katmai are apparently recognizable, according to the park’s rangers.

Among this year’s contenders: “Two-time Fat Bear Week champion, 480 Otis, gets his substantial size by practicing a ‘move less, eat more’ fishing technique,” according to a Katmai park Facebook post.

Bear Week is a single elimination tournament to determine the 2019 fattest bear feeding and seen on a webcam on the Brooks River. Voters pick which bears they think is the fattest on the park’s Facebook page. But you have to hurry, voting ends on Tuesday.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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