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Time to Cast Your Votes: Fat Bear Week is Here!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down and the bears are fattening up! It’s the best week of the year: Fat Bear Week!

If you’re not familiar with fat bear week, it is a week in October where Katmai National Park hosts an online poll for visitors to vote on which bear is the fattest leading up to hibernation in the winter.

The poll started in 2014 as a way to put the beautiful brown bears of the park on display, along with celebrating the healthy ecosystem of the park. Since then, the event has expanded with the addition of the Fat Bear Jr. bracket in 2021, where the smaller bears and cubs can compete to be a contender in the main bracket the following week.

Fat Bear week has become wildly popular over the years with last years polls bringing in over 1 million votes.

Katmai National Park also provides a live stream on their website where you can watch the bears of the park fatten up on their robust diet of the sockeye salmon and other vegetation in preparation for winter.

I was introduced to Fat Bear Week by my older sister, who’s a National Park fanatic, and have looked forward to the week every year since. Now you can join in on the excitement too!

Many of the bears are returning champs that have gained a fierce fan base over the years, like bear 480, a.k.a. Otis; others are new. It’s up to you to decide who you think is the fattest bear of them all this year.

To help you out, I’ve made a list of this years hottest, or should I say largest, contenders:

747- “Colbert”

Colbert is obviously a big favorite to win as he was last years champion, and he’s living up to his title this year as he’s looking fat as ever. He’s regarded as one of the fattest bears in the world, weighing an estimated 1,400 pounds last year, and is looking to be right on track to match that number this year. Colbert has even gained the nickname “Bear Force One” due to his dominance and massive size.

32- “Chunk”

Though he’s been featured in many Fat Bear Weeks in the past, Chunk has never won the title of champion, though he’s always a front runner. Chunk is a personal favorite of mine, partly because his name is Chunk, and partly because he’s always very chunky. In other words, he lives up to his name. He’s looking especially huge this year and always has my vote to go all the way to the top.

480- “Otis”

A Fat Bear Week legend, Otis is back again this year to show off his huge body mass, though, I will say, he is looking a bit less robust than previous years. This could be due to the fact that Otis is one of the oldest bears in Katmai at 27 years old. However, Otis has won FOUR previous titles, which is no small feat, and has one of the largest fan bases out of all the bears. So, if it comes down to favorites, Otis will always be a top contender.

128- “Grazer”

Grazer is one of the beloved mama bears of Fat Bear Week, and, might I add, she is looking especially round this fall. Her blond coat makes her easily identifiable and she also has a large following. Her expert fishing skills and formidable presence in the river give her the upper hand in engorging herself amongst the other bears.

435- “Holly”

Another senior bear, Holly has been a reoccurring opponent in fat bear week since the beginning. She was the winner of the 2019 Fat Bear Week and is putting up a good fight to reclaim her title this year. Holly won the love of many as the best mama bear after adopting an abandoned cub in 2014, which is very rare to see in the wild. Not only is she an expert mama, but an expert eater as well as she’s become especially massive this year.

Honorable Mention:

806 Jr.

Though this cutie is still a young cub, 806 Jr. is already making a name for himself. He won the title of champion of Fat Bear Week Jr. this year, which landed him in the running for the main Fat Bear Week. Though he’s smaller than most in the bracket, he’s anything but little and has a bright future ahead if he keeps up the good eating habits.

Go to Katmai National Park’s website to find the link to vote for your favorite bear and learn more about the other bears featured in this years brackets.

Jessica Wikander is a new member of the Her Campus chapter at St. Bonaventure University this year, and is excited to write on topics such as movies, books, music, and so much more. She is also looking to get more involved in the world of writing and journalism as well as marketing while at school. Jessica is a freshman at St. Bonaventure University and is an undeclared communications major. Along with Her Campus, she has joined other on campus media outlets such as The Buzz, the campus radio station, and SBU-TV, the campus TV station. She also hopes to be a part of the Campus Conservationists Club, and the Jandoli School Women in Communications group. Back home, Jessica worked at her local public library for two and half years where she grew to love being surrounded by people who shared the same love of books and writing as her. On her own time, Jessica enjoys reading. She is a lover of classic literature, fantasy, and literary fiction. She also loves to crochet and is trying to learn how to knit. A comfort show of hers is New Girl, and is an avid period drama watcher and enthusiast. She is open to any discussions on her favorite pieces of media and is always looking for new recommendations of things to watch or read.