Welcome to Fat Bear Week 2020! Katmai National Park and Preserve’s brown bears spent the summer gorging on 4,500-calorie salmon, and they’ve transformed into rotund giants, some over 1,000 pounds. The park is holding its annual playoff-like competition for the fattest of the fat bears (you can between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6). Mashable will be following all the ursine activity.
Voting for Fat Bear Week is different this year, and much improved.
To vote for the fattest bear of Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Brooks River, vote directly on explore.org’s webpage. Explore.org runs the livestreaming webcams, aka “bear cams,” where bears can be viewed catching and devouring salmon throughout the summer and fall.
The contest (which is really more a celebration of the fat bears), is a playoff-like single-elimination tournament. You can vote from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 between the hours of noon to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
Voting is exceptionally easy:
Choose the bear you think is fattest. Click.
Below the vote button, you’ll be asked to enter an email address. This is “not for spamming or marketing” but to try and ensure people aren’t voting twice, explore.org explains.
Previously, Katmai National Park and Preserve held voting on its Facebook page, which is frustrating for those who shun or dislike Facebook. (To vote, you needed to click on a photo of a bear, and then “like” it.)
Now voting looks like this:
Fat bears are successful, healthy bears. Fat Bear Week demonstrates how these wild animals have thrived in a largely untrammeled ecosystem.
“Fat bears exemplify the richness of Katmai National Park and Bristol Bay, Alaska, a wild region that is home to more brown bears than people and the largest, healthiest runs of sockeye salmon left on the planet,” park rangers at Katmai National Park and Preserve told Mashable over email earlier this week.
Overall, the bears are even fatter than usual this year, thanks to a record-breaking salmon run in the park. Each sockeye salmon provides a bear around 4,500 calories. Some bears can consume dozens of fish in a day.
“The competition is going to be between the fat bears and the really fat bears,” Mike Fitz, the resident naturalist for explore.org and a former park ranger at Katmai, told Mashable last week.
“All the bears are fat this year,” he said.