Why the fat bears are already getting so fat

Why the fat bears are already getting so fat

Fat Bear Week isn’t until October.

Yet the brown bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve — who are livestreamed on the explore.org webcams over the summer — are fattening up well before their looming winter hibernation. The reason why is an extraordinary 2020 sockeye salmon run, which will soon eclipse the record for fish swimming up the major waterway (the Naknek River) that ultimately leads to Katmai’s famous Brooks River, where the bears feast. Reliable observations go back to 1963.

“All indications are that we’re going to set a new record,” Curry Cunningham, a fisheries ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who researches salmon runs in Bristol Bay, told Mashable. The record for sockeye salmon swimming up the Naknek River, is around 3.5 million salmon, set in 1991. As of July 13, more than 3.4 million sockeye had already swam up the river.  Read more…

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