Move over, Shark Week, we’re all about Fat Bear Week now.
For the past five years, Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve has helped celebrate the bears that call its Brook River home. Specifically, they help celebrate the bears as they pack on the pounds thanks to summer food, preparing for winter by eating everything they can to build up as much fat as possible before they hibernate, hence the title of Fat Bear Week.
Each year, the park’s rangers put together a March Madness-style tournament bracket that pits fat bear against fat bear. The park released this year’s official bracket on September 24, seeded with 12 bears chosen for their potential popularity and ability to eat salmon like their lives depend on it (cause they do!)
Park rangers post photos of the bears’ girth or, in internet parlance, chonkiness, and the public votes on which bear is really packing on the pounds ahead of winter. Devoted fans can even watch the brown bears eat via Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear Week livestream .
There’s no body shaming here, instead it’s a body positive celebration of a natural weight-gaining process. “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,” the National Park Service said in a news release.
How did they pick the Fat Bear Week winner?
This year’s championship round pitted No. 435, or as she is known by people who like to humanize bears, Holly, against No. 775, Lefty. After the votes were counted, there was no contest: Holly had swept the competition with 17,500 votes to Lefty’s 3,600. “She is fat. She is fabulous,” the Katmai National Park & Preserve wrote on Facebook as they crowned Holly the winner. “All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence.”
Who was the Fat Bear Week winner in 2018?
Holly takes the title from last year’s winner, Beadnose, who Katmai National Park described as “one of the fattest females” before Holly took the title. No word on sash or tiara.