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It’s Fat Bear Week! Meet this year’s contenders

Hefty brown bear 747, the winner of Fat Bear Week 2022, is competing to win Fat Bear Week 2023. (Provided Photo/National Park Service/Courtesy of C. Rohdenburg)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Brown bears at Katmai National Park and Reserve in southern Alaska are now vying to win the people’s choice as the favorite for Fat Bear Week 2023.

Since late June, dozens of brown bears have been feasting on salmon from the Brooks River at the park — preparing for the approaching hibernation months where they typically lose about a third of their body weight, according to the National Parks System.

“For bears, fat equals survival. Each winter, bears enter the den where they will not eat or drink until they emerge in spring. Survival depends on eating a year’s worth of food in six months,” the National Parks System said on its website.

There is also a system of live ‘Fat Bear Cameras,’ hosted by Explore, set up for anyone to watch in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bears fattening up for the winter. One of the cameras even captured a lost hiker looking for help last month. If you’re not lucky enough to spot a bear, has several highlight videos where you can watch the bears in action while you pick your favorite to be crowned the fattest.

‘Favorite’ is the keyword when it comes to voting. As NPS is quick to point out, the fattest bear is not the one who always wins.

There are many different aspects to consider when picking your favorite. There are factors like age and responsibilities. For example, mama brown bears aren’t just fishing for themselves, but also their cubs; as bears age, they have to fight for food with younger, stronger bears.

“While every brown bear seeks to satisfy the same basic needs, they are also adaptable, intelligent, and individualistic. Success and survival for a bear depends on its unique set of behaviors, knowledge, and skills,” said on its website.

The 2023 field includes a wide variety of bears and stories that might make it hard to pick a frontrunner.

Four-time winner “King Otis”‘ is once again in the running this year. He was also the first winner of Fat Bear Week in 2014. Last year’s winner, Bear 747, is back as well.

Voting opens Wednesday on the Fat Bear Week Voting Page. The fattest bear will be crowned on “Fat Bear Tuesday,” October 10.

There are also several, live streaming events planned throughout the week through the National Parks System.

Meet the 2023 field of Fat Bear Week contenders

32 Chunk

Chunk is a large adult male with narrowly-set eyes, a prominent brow ridge, and a distinctive scar across his muzzle.

(Provided Photo/

128 Grazer

Grazer is a large adult female with a long straight muzzle and conspicuously blond ears.

(Provided Photo/

151 Walker

Walker is a large adult male. He has a long, tapering muzzle and widely spaced, upright ears. 

(Provided Photo/

164 Bucky

Bear 164 is a medium-sized adult male. In early summer, he has light brown body fur with darker brown fur on his lower legs.

(Provided Photo/

284 Electra

Bear 284 is a medium-sized adult female with perky ears, a long neck, and prominent shoulder hump.

(Provided Photo/


Bear 402 is a large adult female. She has medium brown fur, tan-colored claws, and crescent or apostrophe-shaped ears when viewed from front or back.

(Provided Photo/


This is a pudgy 3.5-year-old subadult bear. Bear 428 has blond ears and grizzled, light brown fur.

(Photo provided:

435 Holly

Holly is a large adult female with blond ears and pale, tan-colored claws.

(Provided Photo/

480 Otis

Otis is a medium-large adult male with a blocky muzzle and a floppy right ear.

(Photo provided:


Bear 747 is a large adult male with a blocky muzzle and floppy ears. He is also the reigning champion as the winner of ‘Fat Bear Week’ 2022.


This is a medium-sized adult female. Bear 901 has blond-rimmed, triangular ears.

(Photo provided:

Click here to visit the Fat Bear Week Voting Page!