The votes are finally in, and bear 747’s chunky folds have seen him officially crowned winner of Fat Bear Week 2022. Unsurprisingly, this absolute unit is a veteran champion, having won the title back in 2020. However, this victory was almost a near miss for 747, as his semi-final title was almost snatched from his paws due to a spate of malicious voter fraud.
Since his first victory two years ago, 747 has dominated the feeding grounds of Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. He’s now considered one of the largest brown bears on Earth, with his estimated weight for this year racking up to an astonishing 636 kilograms (1,400 pounds).
Despite winning by an impressive 11,229 votes against his competitor, the comparatively puny 901, 747’s rise to the top wasn’t without its hardships. The Katmai National Park official Twitter announced on Monday that fraudulent votes had skewed the polls for the semi-final match between 747 and 435, incorrectly crowning 435 the winner.
While the Fat Bear community was rattled, Katmai Nation Park resolved the fraudulent submissions and, upon tallying the new figures, awarded 747 his rightful spot in the final.
Fat Bear Week is the annual celebration of brown bears’ impressive ability to pile on the pounds ahead of their big winter hibernation. This competitive sport puts legendary chonks and fan favorites head-to-head in a chow-down to see who can gain the most weight, putting the vote to the public to decide who’s the biggest and the best.
First identified as a young bear in 2004, 747 has now progressed to one of the most successful adults in the park. A hierarchal shift in 2021 between 747 and the river’s former most dominant bear, 856, has seen 747’s status re-established, making him top bear.
While hierarchy is usually maintained through violence, this beefcake manages to rule through sheer size alone, and in turn, is awarded all the best feeding spots.