Let the Fat Bear Week hype begin….
Brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park have emerged from hibernation and will spend the summer fattening up on salmon along the Brooks River.
It’s a phenomenon enjoyed by millions, thanks to a live camera run by Explore.org, and it culminates each fall with a fan-friendly competition known as Fat Bear Week.
Typically, when bears first appear before the camera, they show signs of months spent sleeping in dens. They can lose 33% of their body weight during hibernation and need to start packing calories.
But when Bear 747, also known as Bear Force One, recently appeared looking surprisingly rotund, Explore.org tweeted a short video beneath the description: “Did 747 ‘BEARFORCE ONE’ even hibernate? What a beauty!”
Did 747 “BEARFORCE ONE” even hibernate? What a beauty! pic.twitter.com/yljW99raOe
— explore.org (@exploreorg) June 23, 2022
Bear 747 is the 2020 champion of Fat Bear Week, but last year finished runner-up to four-time winner Otis.
Being among the fattest bears in Katmai National Park & Preserve means being among the healthiest, given the harsh winters the animals must endure in their dens. (The bears must consume a year’s worth of food in six months.)
The park bills Fat Bear Week, a March Madness-style event that begins in late September, as “an annual celebration of success” but adds that all Brooks River bears are winners.
Last year a record 793,000 votes were cast during the seven-day competition.
–Image courtesy of Explore.org