This is the 2019 Fat Bear Week. Throughout the week, thousands of Internet users voted to designate the largest brown bear in Katmai National Park, Alaska. In other words, it is the one who will spend the winter with the most reserves of fat.
Every year since 2014, officials in Katmai National Park, Alaska, have been asking people to vote on Facebook for the biggest brown bear. A good-natured contest that – unlike what you could imagine – truly celebrates life here. “There is no shame in winning this contest because large amounts of body fat in brown bears are a sign of good health and good chances of survival [during the winter]”, can we read in a statement.
In recent weeks, all the brown bears in the park (there are more than 2,000) are flocking into streams to catch salmon. The animals are particularly focused on the eggs and brains of fish, which are the most high-calorie parts. The goal: store a maximum of fat in anticipation of future hibernation. During this period, bears can lose up to one-third of their weight. So the bigger they are, the more likely they are to survive.
All week long, netizens were invited to post photos and videos of the animals in the park. The winner will be announced on Tuesday (October 8th). He will dethrone Beadnose, the winner of last year. The female has unfortunately not been seen this year by park officials. It is possible that she did not survive the previous winter. She was still in her twenties. “She lived a rich life, raising four litters of cubs,” says Mashable.
Here is one of those outsiders, Holly, obviously well received:
— explore.org (@exploreorg) September 30, 2019
This event is also an opportunity for researchers to study the science of hibernating the bear. These animals are indeed able to store tens of pounds of fat without accumulating them in their arteries. Weeks of lethargy also do not seem to have any impact on muscle or bone health. Very complex biology that could, for example, allow us to think of new ways to support spaceflight, which subject the human body to hardship.
Meanwhile, a Livestream allows you to follow in real-time these brown bears attacking the salmon that come up the river to reproduce.