Join the Fat Bear Celebration!
Our Fat Bear Celebration fundraiser was held on October 9th, click play below to watch the broadcast!
Donate to the Otis Fund
THANKS TO YOUR WONDERFUL CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE INCREDIBLE GENEROSITY OF OUR FRIENDS AT EXPLORE.ORG FOR MATCHING DONATIONS, THE OTIS FUND THIS YEAR HAS FAR EXCEEDED OUR GOAL OF $250,000! TOTALS WILL BE POSTED SOON.
Fat Bear Week 2021 - September 29th through October 5th
Choose the fattest bear of the year! Some of the largest brown bears on Earth make their home at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Fat Bear Week is an annual tournament celebrating their success in preparation for winter hibernation.
Fat Bear Week is a single elimination tournament. From September 29th to October 5th, your vote decides who is the fattest of the fat. For each set of two bears, vote for the bear who you think is the fattest. The bear with the most votes advances. Only one will be crowned champion of Fat Bear Week. Matchups will be open for voting between 12 - 10 p.m. Eastern (9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Pacific). Watch the bears of Brooks River everyday on explore.org.
“Fat Bear Week is to the natural world what March Madness is to college basketball,” says explore.org founder Charlie Annenberg Weingarten. “But it is also so much more! Bears arrive in July looking thin and frail. Now as winter approaches they are rotund and ready to retire into hibernation. It is a true success story. I am humbled to work alongside the Katmai Conservancy and Katmai National Park to bring a classic fall event to people around the world. Get your grub on and vote!”
New to the competition this year is Fat Bear Junior. During this warm-up event, the public chooses the cub who they think should compete in the Fat Bear Week tournament. Fat Bear Junior takes place September 23 – 24.
Voters can inform their votes by comparing early and late summer photos of the bears and by considering each bear’s life history and the unique challenges it faces in order to survive. We also encourage voters to campaign for their candidate bear through #FatBearWeek on social media. Media and press organizations can utilize our collection of Fat Bear Week photos and clips.
There’s no fat shaming in Fat Bear Week. Fat is the fuel that sustains a brown bear through winter hibernation. Fat bears exemplify the richness of Katmai National Park and Bristol Bay, Alaska—a wild region that is home to more brown bears than people and the largest, healthiest runs of sockeye salmon left on the planet. Learn more at fatbearweek.org and watch live, streaming footage of the bears at Brooks River every day on explore.org.
Congratulations to the first ever Fat Bear Junior champ!
Hooray for 132’s spring cub, the first winner of Fat Bear Junior! This fluffy fighter beat out all chubby challengers to win the first Fat Bear Junior championship and battled it out with the big bears during Fat Bear Week. Pretty impressive for a youngster!
Fat Bear Week Live Events 2021
Celebrate the success of Brooks River’s world-famous bears during Fat Bear Week. Your vote decides which bear will be crowned the fattest of the year. National Park Service rangers and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz are hosting many live events to help inform your vote. Watch the bears every day on explore.org.
Fat Bear Junior
For these young and maturing bears, it is win and you’re in! During this warm-up event for Fat Bear Week, you choose the cub who will compete in the annual Fat Bear Week tournament. Join the bracket reveal with Mike Fitz from explore.org and Katmai National Park ranger Naomi Boak during a live play-by-play on Monday, September 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific. The Fat Bear Junior vote takes place September 23 – 24 on fatbearweek.org.
Fat Bear Week in the Classroom
We invite teachers to take bearcam into the classroom and consider the different ways in which bears find success in Katmai’s challenging environment. Ranger Lian Law from Katmai National Park and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz will record a special broadcast to answer your students’ questions. Learn more about how your class can participate. Questions are due by September 28. The recorded broadcast premieres on October 4 at 2 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. Pacific on the Explore Live Nature Cams YouTube channel.
Fat Bear Week Live Chats
Fat Bear Week Bracket Reveal
September 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
The road to Fat Bear Week greatness began months ago. After a summer-long effort, brown bears at Brooks River in Katmai National Park have reached peak fat. How did they do it and what challenges did they face along the way? Those are a couple of the questions that explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law will answer as they reveal the contenders and the bracket for the 2021 Fat Bear Week tournament.
Welcome to Fat Bear Week
September 29 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
Winter comes quickly in Katmai and bears must get fat to survive it. Fat is the fuel that powers their ability to endure winter hibernation as well as the key to their reproductive success. Learn more about the importance of fat in the survival of the Fat Bear Week contestants with explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law.
A Very Fat Bear Play-by-Play
October 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
A favorite of rangers and bearcam fans alike, play-by-plays are live events when rangers and other experts narrate the bear and salmon activity at Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individual bears on the cams and how they survive.
Fat Bear Tuesday
October 5 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
In the tournament of champions that is Fat Bear Week, the merely pudgy bears have been winnowed away. The truly fattest are left standing. On Fat Bear Tuesday we conclude another titanic Fat Bear Week, and the two finalists are quintessential examples of success and the supreme adaptations that bears possess to survive. Explore the lives of the two final contestants with explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law.
Chat in the comments with Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai National Park during our weekly Q&As. Bring your questions about bears, salmon, and Katmai.
- Explore.org: Every Tuesday (except October 5) from 5 – 7 p.m. Eastern / 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Live Chat channel.
- YouTube Q&As: Every Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Falls YouTube page.
- Tiktok Q&As: Join on the explore.org Tiktok channel. September 30 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific.
Brown Bear Superlatives
Choose your favorite bear among many categories including “most respected mom” and “best angler” in this post-Fat Bear Week celebration and fundraiser for the Katmai Conservancy. New superlatives are chosen each day from October 6 – 9 on the Brooks Falls YouTube page.
A Brown Bear Celebration
October 9 at 4 p.m. Eastern / 1 p.m. Pacific on the Brooks Live Chat channel.
After Fat Bear Week concludes, bears continue to fish at Brooks River and Katmai Conservancy continues its work in support of Katmai National Park. Join Katmai Conservancy’s Sara Wolman, explore.org’s Mike Fitz, and several special guests for this live event celebrating the 2021 brown bear season at Brooks River.
Did you see something on the bearcams you’re curious about? Or, would you like to submit a question in advance for our live events? Ask it here. Rangers and expert staff may answer your question in a live chat, in the bearcam comments, or in a blog post.