How to vote; meet competitors vying to be winner

The competition to decide the chonk champion is on as the framework for Fat Bear Week 2022 has been revealed.

Southwest Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve announced the 12 bears competing in this year’s event, showcasing a mix of past winners and fan favorites, along with some new faces to freshen up the action

It’s actually a difficult task to decide which bears will be selected for the competition, said Lian Law, the park’s visual information specialist and responsible for Fat Bear Week.

The process starts in the summer because that’s when the bears are still a little thin. Contest officials check them again in late summer after they put on weight eating salmon. They are also wild animals, so it is difficult to find them and take photos that show their bulky shape.

“Getting these images is very difficult. Some of the bears, this time of year, don’t even come out of the water, hardly ever come out of their fishing grounds,” Law said. “They don’t just show up on the schedule.”

Bear 164 hunts fish in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska.
Bear 128, Grazer, appears with cubs foraging in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve.

Fortunately, some of the hottest bears to do the competition are back again. Of the eight bears that have never been named champion, six previous winners are in the 2022 class, including four-time champion and 2021 Fat Bear Week winner 480 Otis.

And even with other favorites like the 435 Holly and 747 returning, don’t rule out any newcomers making a run at the title.

“Bears are individuals and have different personalities and life histories,” Law said. “It’s always interesting to see the new arrivals and what they bring.”

Voting starts on October 5th and lasts until October 11th. You can vote here.

Here are the 12 bears vying for the crown this year, along with some personal information about each.

Fat Bear Week Coverage: Learn more about celebrating big, beefy and awesome creatures

Month: Fat Bear Week 2022 isn’t all fun and games. For these bears, “it’s all about survival.”

480 Otis

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