Fat Bear Week is coming to save our souls. May the chunkiest fuzzball win

Last year's winner "resembles the shape and color of a toasted marshmallow."

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
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The 2019 Fat Bear Week champion 435 Holly will have some rotund competition for 2020.

NPS/L. Carter

You deserve some moments of calm and clarity in this crazy year. Starting on Sept. 30, lose yourself in folds of bear fat during the Katmai National Park & Preserve's soul-soothing Fat Bear Week competition. It's like March Madness collided with a David Attenborough nature special.

Katmai is in Alaska, and the competitors are a chonky group of brown bears that have been packing on the pounds in preparation for hibernation. Fat Bear Week is a celebration of their success, and a chance for humans to cheer on and vote for their furry favorites. 

The voting runs through nature livecam site Explore.org, which offers up a bracket and dishes out some helpful (and sometimes heartbreaking) biographies on the bears. Most of the bears have numbers, and some, like 2019's reigning champion 435 Holly, have names. 

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Super-chonk 747 is a contender for the Fat Bear Week throne.


Holly's bio says she "resembles the shape and color of a toasted marshmallow."

Holly is looking good this year, but a lot of fans have their eyes on 747, a particularly hefty male with an impressive belly. 

"Although dominant bears can maintain their rank in the hierarchy through aggression, 747 typically keeps his status by sheer size alone," his bio reads. He is estimated to weigh over 1,400 pounds (636 kilogram).

Explore.org tweeted a video on Wednesday of 747 looking fabulously plump.

This is a single-elimination tournament and fans are asked to vote for the bear that looks the fattest in each matchup. Voting opens on Sept. 30 and runs through Oct. 6.

The bears have been stuffing themselves on salmon. You can watch the action, scout the contenders and catch highlights through Explore.org's livecams

May the bulkiest bear win.