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Cardinal Courier

Cardinal Courier

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

Cardinal Courier

Fat Bear Week 2023: Oct. 4 — Oct. 10

Bear 747, Fat Bear Week 2022 Champion (via Katmai’s Flickr Page)

Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like! Fat Bear Week is an annual tournament that is held every October to celebrate the survival and a successful hibernation season for brown bears. The tournament pits Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve brown bears against each other in a bracket-style competition, allowing the public to vote online for which bears they think best prepared for a successful winter hibernation. 

During the course of the week, hosts live events where virtual visitors can learn more about the lives of the individual bears in the competition and their histories, as well as familiarize themselves with Katmai’s ecosystem. 

Fat Bear Week 2023 Bracket Matchup

There are 12 bears in the competition and will each be matched up with one other bear in a bracket. The bear that wins each bracket will continue to move on through the competition until the winner is crowned on Fat Bear Tuesday, Oct. 10. 

Bears need to fatten during the summer months in order to survive their winter hibernation. They lose up to a third of their body weight in hibernation from not eating or drinking. The brown bears in Katmai’s National Park feed on salmon at the Brooks River from late June through mid October, one of few rivers in existence that provide them the opportunity to feast for that long. An adult male bear in Katmai can weigh over 1,000 pounds by the fall. 

There are eight cameras to watch the bears, including two at the falls, their prime fishing spot (which I highly recommend). 

Voting participation has significantly grown since its kickoff in 2014, with more than a million votes in the 2022 tournament. Bear 747 was crowned the winner for the second time last fall, weighing in at an estimated 1,400 pounds. Photos of each year’s winner can be found on Katmai’s Flickr Page

You can vote for who you think is the fattest bear at between 12-9 p.m. Eastern through Oct. 10! Remember: the bigger the bear, the better! It means they’ve been the most successful in preparing for their long-term nap!


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About the Contributor
Brooke Eastman, Managing Editor
Brooke Eastman is a junior Media and Communications major at Fisher. She currently serves as Managing Editor of the Courier. She is a Rochester native, and has always had a strong passion for writing. She believes that media plays an essential role in our day-to-day lives, and our means of communicating. At the Courier, Brooke covers current events on campus, lifestyle, and pop culture.
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