**Related video above: Local woman spots black bear on her Ring camera in May.**
(WJW) – Which burly beast will be crowned the champion of this year’s Fat Bear Week? We’ll find out soon enough as voting for the annual competition opened up Wednesday.
Every year, park rangers at Katmai National Park and Reserve in Alaska organize a bracket-style tournament celebrating the fattest bears ahead of hibernation.
“Each winter, bears enter the den where they will not eat or drink until they emerge in spring,” NPS says on its website. “During this time, they may lose up to one-third of their body weight as they rely solely on their fat reserves. Survival depends on eating a year’s worth of food in six months.”
Voting will take place over a week to determine the 2023 champ on Fat Bear Tuesday.
Among this year’s contenders is four-time winner ‘King Otis,’ who was crowned the inaugural champion back in 2014.
As FOX 8 previously reported, the nearly 30-year-old brown bear’s absence was causing some concern for watchers this past summer until he was finally spotted on the Alaska Peninsula during peak salmon season.
Learn more about Fat Bear Week and how to vote here.