Alaska, Animals, Bears, Fat Bear Week, Science

Day 2 of Fat Bear Week pits a scarred male against a young challenger

Bear 812 vs Bear 32.

Image: Bob Al-Greene/Mashable

Welcome to Fat Bear Week at Mashable! Each fall, Katmai National Park holds a competition as Alaska’s brown bears finish fattening up for their long winter hibernation. This year, Mashable is getting in on the salmon-munching action. Check back with us all week as we follow the fat bear face-offs each day, and remember to get your votes in for each round. Happy fishing!

Get ready for another day of fat brown bear face-offs.

The second day of the Fat Bear Week competition features two separate matches. The first pits Bear 32 “Chunk” — who in 2017 was the most dominant bear in Alaska’s Brooks River — against a younger, teenage bear.

Voting via the Katmai National Park Facebook page opened at 10 a.m. ET and will be followed by voting for the day’s second match at 4 p.m. ET. Winners for both are announced at 10 p.m. ET.

The aim of Fat Bear Week is to recognize the impressive growth of Alaska’s brown bears as they’ve prepared for the long winter’s hibernation. It’s not about who’s simply the biggest right now, but how much they’ve fattened up over the past four months. 

Bear 32 "Chunk"

Bear 32 “Chunk”

Bear 32 "Chunk"

Bear 32 “Chunk”

Last year, a massive Bear 32, or Chunk, displaced the historically aggressive and dominant Bear 856 as the top bear of the Brooks River. 

But this year, 856 has reclaimed his throne, pushing out behemoths like Chunk for the superior fishing spots. 

As can be seen below, Bear 812 — who is a younger subadult or teenage bear — started off the summer in a rather scrawny state. But after consuming bounties of calorie-dense salmon this summer — and even sharing fish with other subadult bears — he’s filled out.

Bear 812

Bear 812

Bear 812

Bear 812

Voting for your favorite fat bear is easy. 

To vote for your choice on the Katmai Facebook page, click into the photos of each large brown bear. Click the “Like” button for whichever bear you think has grown the fattest over the course of the season. 

The second showdown of the day features a match between Bear 435’s chubby second-year cubs (they’re sharing a spot), and Bear 719, a younger subadult bear. 

Wednesday’s Results

On Wednesday, former Fat Bear Week champion 409 easily handled her outmatched competitor, the male bear 151 “Walker.” Based upon her impressive girth, 409 figures to be a tough competitor from here on out.

In the later match, Bear 854 “Divot” took out the much younger Bear 503 — who has a famous history after once being adopted by another Fat Bear competitor, Bear 435, aka Holly. 

Updated Oct. 4, 2018 Fat Bear Week bracket

Updated Oct. 4, 2018 Fat Bear Week bracket

Image: Bob al-greene/mashable

503 may have been booted early this year, but he’s is almost certainly a future contender.  

Both bears 409 and Divot — who previously survived a grim wire-trap that seriously threatened her survival — have moved onto the quarterfinals. They both meet tough competitors on Friday. 

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