(CNN) — Finally, it’s Fat Bear Week — a most welcome week of healthy competition among brown bears.
Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve calls it “a celebration of success,” a March Madness style tournament, complete with a bracket, where you can vote on the heftiest brown bear in the bunch.
The bears are getting ready to retire to their dens for the winter, without food or drink until spring. Their fat reserves sustain them as their body weight dwindles by up to a third.
“For bears, fat equals survival,” says Katmai’s website.
The contest dates back to 2014’s Fat Bear Tuesday, according to the National Park Service, and has plumped up to an event with 640,000 votes cast in 2020, a year that cried out for fat bear fun.
A dominant adult male might catch and eat more than 30 fish a day, and by the end of the fall, adult males can weigh over 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms).
About 2,200 brown bears live in the park.
The National Park Service says the region where the park is located is “home to more brown bears than people and the largest, healthiest runs of sockeye salmon left on the planet.”
Fat Bear Week starts on Wednesday, September 29, and concludes on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 5.
Photo from the National Park Service