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Fat Bear Week 2020: Voters decide on Alaskan animals' weight gain

An internet competition in which users vote for their favorite 'fat bear' has kicked off for another year, providing some light relief amidst the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fat Bear Week is an annual online tournament which takes place each October, requiring voters to choose which Katmai National Park bear has piled on the most pounds over the summer.  

The competition is organized by the Alaska's Katmai Conservancy, with employees taking photos of the animals each June before they gorge themselves on salmon ahead of winter hibernation. 

The 'before' photos are then contrasted with snaps of the bears at the end of the summer, with users subsequently deciding which one has fattened up most effectively. 

Fat Bear Week is an annual online tournament which takes place each October, requiring people to choose which Katmai National Park bear has put on the most weight over the summer. This year's schedule is pictured 

The competition is organized by the Alaska's Katmai Conservancy who take photos of the animals in the early summer and then again several months later, following their impressive weight gains 

'These bears get massive,' Katmai Conservancy media manager, Sara Wolman, told The Washington Post. 

She says some of the predators can weigh in at a whopping 1,200 pounds by the time fall comes around.  

This year, 12 bears are involved in the single elimination competition, including last year's champion, Holly. 

However, the incumbent will be going head-to-head with fan favorite Chunk, who also piled on an impressive number of pounds last year.   

This year, 12 bears are involved in the single elimination competition, including last year's champion, Holly

Fan favorite Chunk is back in the running after a summer spent feasting on salmon 

Entrant 747 has stacked on an impressive number of pounds of the summer and is sure to be a competitive candidate 

Those interested in joining in the fun can visit the competition's official page. 

Each day, the bears are pitted off against each other with users choosing which one goes through to the next round. 

This year's competition commenced on Wednesday, and more than 100,000 votes have been cast in the first 24 hours. 

Two bears have already been booted from the contest, with bear 856 and bear 402 both failing to adequately impress voters with their weight gain. 

Popular and portly Walker is seen eyeing off salmon before he spends the next several months hunkered down 

In recent years, the competition has put the Katmai National Park on the map, with enthusiasts often flocking to the site to see the bears in the flesh. 

This year, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, users are only able to view the bears on six separate webcams set up across the park. 

'This is amazing!!!' one cooed, while another declared it 'the best news of the week'. 

Those wanting to compete can enter here: https://explore.org/fat-bear-week#vote 

Grazer by name, but not by nature! Given his sizable shape, it seems Grazer has been doing much more than grazing this past summer 

Booted! Despite racking up thousands of votes, Entrant 856 has already been kicked out of this year's competition 

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