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VOTE HERE: Hibernation weight gain inspires burliest bear competition

KING SALMON, Alaska (WBNG/CBS) – Winter is coming, which means that many bears are getting ready to cozy up for their months-long hibernation. To get prepared, they’re packing on the pounds.

The bears have to pack in a year’s worth of food in just about six months, according to Andrew LaValle, a Katmai National Park Ranger.

It inspired the National Park Service in Katmai National Park to kick off the fourth annual Fat Bear Week. It’s a week-long competition, complete with a fat bear bracket to crown the burliest bear. Park officials hope that people learn some new facts about bears in the process.

Pictures of eight bears, and their chubby transformations, were posted online for voters to weigh-in on.

The contest started October 3. Only two competitors were left after a week of voting: Bear 409 (a.k.a Beadnose) and Bear 747.

Both finalists have some very vocal fans on social media, but only Facebook likes will decide who gets the heavyweight crown.

Voting closes on “Fat Bear Tuesday” (October 9) at 7 p.m. To cast your vote, click here. Then browse through the pictures and “like” your favorite.

Anyone looking to get reaction from the victors will probably be out of luck though. These bears are likely already sleeping somewhere, completely unaware of their newfound fat fame.

Viktoria Hallikäär

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