Voting Officially Opens In The 2023 Fat Bear Week Competition

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The 2023 Fat Bear Week competition, which honors brown bears’ capacity to gain weight for their Alaskan hibernation cycle, is currently open for voting. They have to eat a ton of fish huge accomplish that, but fortunately they are close to a robust sockeye salmon run.

“Essentially those fat stores have to keep them healthy from late October till June,” when the salmon return to the Brooks River, media ranger Naomi Boak of Katmai National Park and Preserve, told NPR.

“We have some of the largest bears on the planet,” Boak said. “The big boars, the biggest guys, can get to be between 1,000 and 1,400 pounds.”

But it’s not just the guys, either. Brown bear females gain enormous amounts of weight while rearing cubs.

Voters choose who advances from each battle among the 12 brown bears, who are organized into a bracket. Oct. 4–10 is the voting period. Voting is open from 12:00 ET until 9:00 ET.

“You can follow the bears for years and really get to know their lives and their personalities and their soap operas,” Boak said.

“We really love that children and teachers follow the bears,” she added. Students can ask questions using a Google form.