"ANCHORAGE - In Alaska, leaves are falling, daylight is dwindling and salmon-devouring brown bears are racing the clock to pack on the pounds they need to survive their winter hibernation.
Unbeknownst to the enormous bruins, some of them are also competing in Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear Week, Alaska's annual celebration of gluttony and nature's abundance.
For seven days starting on Wednesday, wildlife fans will submit online votes in a playoff-style competition among 12 of the park's fattest brown bears photographed at the salmon-rich Brooks River. The winner will be announced on Oct. 5.
The week-long online extravaganza is a joint project of the park and two nonprofit partners: the Katmai Conservancy and explore.org, a multimedia organization that operates live nature cameras around the world, most famously its Katmai 'bear cam.'"