Move over, Shark Week; there’s a new species on the scene eager to pique everyone’s interest.
While sharks’ weeklong attention normally consists of hearing how lethal they are, Fat Bear Week removes the lethal nature of these fascinating critters and focuses on how fat these gorgeous creatures can get.
In southwest Alaska’s Katmai National Park’s and Preserve, which is home to an estimated 2,200 brown bears.
In 2014, the commemoration began as a single day.
“Everyone was really stunned by it,” Sara Wolman, Katmai Conservancy’s project and media manager, told USA TODAY. “In a world where we’re constantly dealing with issues like climate change, that really struck a chord with people.”
According to Cheryl Spencer, a park ranger, over 650,000 people voted for their favourite bear in the competition last year, and Katmai National Park’s officials expect a lot more ballots to be cast this time around, granting one lucky bear wonderful acclaim.
While the contest may appear to be fat-shaming these bears, it is necessary for them to acquire weight. Hibernation means these bears won’t be feeding for a time as winter approaches.
“They’ve been attempting to get fat all summer,” Wolman added.
Spencer stated that because bears lose around a third of their total weight while hibernating, gaining weight is crucial to their survival.