There’s a new brown bear champion located in the Alaskan Katmai National Park & Preserve.
Following an online cheating scandal that caused chaos in the finals, the winner was announced on Tuesday evening, October 11, at the Annual Fat Bear Week contest.
Bear 747 racked up the most votes, beating his formidable opponent 901.
The announcement on Twitter was made the web at 9:00 p.m. ET and was awe-inspiringly announced: “THIS 747 IS CLEARED FOR LANDING. Introducing your 2022 Fat Bear Week champion.”
747 has not had his first major win. He also won the title in the year 2020.
Very few bears have the capacity to reach 747’s size, as per the bear’s website page on Explore.org the group which runs the contest.
The website claims that he’s among the largest brown bears to ever walk the Earth and could weigh up to 1400 pounds (635 kg). He’s been focusing on increasing his weight by fishing at Brooks Falls in the Park Brooks Falls nearly every day between late June and mid-September.
Bears can use aggression to assert control. But not this large bear. “747 typically keeps his status by sheer size alone,” his profile states.
“He shows that skill and size influence success in the bear world.”
Finalist Bear 901 has been discovered to be an 2.5-year-old in the year 2018. As per her profile on the internet, “she fishes throughout Brooks River and sometimes is eager to defend her fishing spots against other bears. When she was a young adult in 2022 she continued to develop her skills in socializing and fishing.
“This is a lifelong process for brown bears, but it is particularly important for young adult females. Bear 901 may soon experience a new challenge: raising cubs.”
It is crucial that pregnant bears build up a substantial body mass to help them survive hibernation, and also to have healthy cubs.
It could be a different story had officials not spotted the vote-tampering that occurred on Sunday.
“A Fat Bear Week scandal for the ages. Someone stuffed the ballot box!,” Explore.org posted on Twitter on Sunday night.
Officials were concerned when 747’s semifinal rival, 435 Holly came back from being a 6,000-point deficit within a matter of minutes, Explore.org’s Candice Rusch told CNN Travel via email.
“While not unheard of, it is very uncommon for a bear to come back late in the day like that. We ended up finding just over 9,000 spam votes,” Rusch stated.
There were a few”spam votes” for 747, too, “maybe to throw us off?”
Explore.org added a captcha function for the survey, Rusch said.
The votes that were faked were eliminated and the previous votes were scrutinized. At the end, 747 won in the battle against 435 Holly.
Each year, the contest serves as “a way to celebrate the resilience, adaptability and strength of Katmai’s brown bears,” Katmai declared this week on its website.
Every time of the year, Brown bears gather on the salmon-rich Brooks River before hibernating for the winter. Live camera of this river has become a very popular online feature.
All 12 heavyweights competing in 2022’s contest were practicing for the major event since coming out of hibernation. They have been foraging on the abundance of salmon and other fish that the nature has to offer at the park in coastal southwest Alaska.
Explore.org offered colorful bios as well as helpful before/after photos of the adorable (but nonetheless tough)