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Fat Bear Week is here, and you can crown the chunkiest bear of all

We can bearly contain ourselves.

Brown Bears Fishing For Salmon
Brown bears fishing for salmon in Alaska's Katmai National Park.
Getty Images

Competition is fierce on Day One as two-time champion Otis faces off against a very hefty looking Lefty. But me, I'm rooting for returning competitor and aggressive mama-bear Grazer. No, this isn't some sports match. This is Fat Bear Week. It's arguably the greatest week of nature adoration (take that, Shark Week), and you can help decide which brown bear is chunkier than all the rest.

The 2019 Fat Bear Bracket. Click to enlarge.

Katmai National Park and Preserve/NPS

The annual competition, held by Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, kicks off Wednesday and lets you vote for the fattest brown bear on the Brooks River. Bears face off head-to-head on the park's Facebook page, with the bear whose photo receives the most likes advancing to the next round. The winning bear will be crowned "Fattest Bear" on Oct. 8. 

As the Katmai NP points out, there's no shame in winning this contest. Brown bears need large amounts of body fat to help them survive winter hibernation, which can last up to six months. In preparation, the bears go into a serious binge mode known as hyperphagia at this time of year.

You can watch the bears competing in this year's competition on the Bear Cam livestream and vote for your favorite on the Katmai NP Facebook Page.