Science & Environment

Government Shutdown Could Spell Trouble For This Big Alaska Tradition

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A looming government shutdown threatens to claw its method right into a crowd-pleasing Alaska custom: Fat Bear Week.

Alaska’s most-watched reputation contest, Fat Bear Week includes residents choosing their favourite fats brown bear who’s been stocking up for winter by noshing on salmon in Katmai National Park & Preserve. Viewers of the bears online vote in tournament-style brackets for these they need to advance to the subsequent spherical till a champion is topped within the weeklong contest.

More than 1 million votes have been solid final yr.

Problem is, national park workers depend and launch these votes — and a shutdown received’t enable them to take action as a result of it might set off a ban on utilizing the park’s official social media accounts for so long as the federal government is closed.

“Should a lapse happen, we will need to postpone Fat Bear Week,” Cynthia Hernandez, a park spokesperson, stated in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

If Congress does not reach an agreement to fund the federal authorities, operations will shut down Sunday. This yr’s Fat Bear Week contest is about to start Wednesday.

The National Park Service estimates that 2,200 brown bears inhabit the park, a quantity exceeding the individuals who stay on the peninsula. They have six to eight months to eat a yr’s value of food and guarantee their survival by means of winter, in accordance with the service.

The Katmai brown bears are well-known for standing at Brooks Falls, catching sockeye salmon of their mouths to fatten up for the winter. And they’re an enormous draw for the park on the Alaska Peninsula, the arm of land extending from Alaska’s southwest nook towards the Aleutian Islands about 250 miles (402.3 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

The spectacle attracts so many guests that three viewing stands have been erected close to the falls, together with a bridge and boardwalk over the Brooks River to permit guests to keep away from the bears.

Several cameras operated by present the stay streams of the bears at Katmai.

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