2022 Fat Bear Week has winners: 747 wins again

After a week full of dramatic belly, victory and attempted voter fraud the Internet has crowned the 747 as the king of the 2022 Fat Bear Week, beating the rookie 901 by more than 11,000 votes.

This year’s final comes down to a battle between David and Goliath — figuratively speaking, considering both bears are behemoths.747, the undisputed largest bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve, aka “Bear Force One,” with the first entry With such impressive before and after photos, it was dubbed “The Female Bear 747”.

In fact, the 901 is fat enough to make us ask “Economy, who?” A fan tweeted: “901 is so fat, the legs seem to be upside down.” But in this case, Goliath won.

Fat Bear Week 2022 has arrived. Meet the chunky contender.

For the uninitiated, Fat Bear Week is a single-elimination game where the 12 brown bears of Katmai, Alaska go up against each other on the online bracket for conservation awareness. As the bears finished hibernating, fans voted for their favorite contenders on Explore.org until Chubby Bear was voted the fattest on Tuesday.

The competition is not about which bear is actually the fattest. Just because male brown bears are twice the size of females doesn’t mean they always win. Katmai visual information specialist Lian Law said the 747 does look twice as much as the 901 when you see them in person.

Many fans can and do vote for the bear that looks the biggest, but many others vote based on the bear’s relative fatness, its personality (as observed in Katmai’s live bear cam) or how much it changed that season. Obstacles to overcome by being so obese.

However, there’s no denying the sheer size of 747, who won Fat Bear Week in 2020 with an estimated weight of 1,400 pounds.

“You’re looking at one of the largest bears in the world,” Mike Fitz, creator of Fat Bear Week and Explore.org resident naturalist, said Tuesday at Fat Bear. “We don’t know exactly how old he is, but he’s a giant among bears… It may be a long time before we see another bear the size of him.”

From her before and after photos, 901 appeared to triple in size over the summer, leading rangers to speculate that she might be pregnant. Meanwhile, the 747 had a great start to the season but came back to the river this year with wobbly ears, “probably because he got into a fight with another bear, maybe underperforming,” Fitz said. This gives fans reason to support Bear Force One’s massive backing.

The two bears cried all the way through the final, beating extremely fat fans along the way.

“There must be unease in some people’s hearts at least,” Fitz said.

Perhaps the most striking upset was how easy it was for the four-time champion 480 Otis to get knocked out.Despite having such a strong fan base, the 26-year-old Bear was defeated by 901 and her gold-rimmed ears by over 23,000 votes.

Fitz is not surprised. Unlike last year when Otis won (after arriving at Brooks Falls late and very skinny), he didn’t make as impressive a gain to keep his title.

“He has such a loyal fan base that I think whenever he plays, he has a chance to go very far, if not win,” Fitz said. “But this year … I think his body The changes are not as dramatic as they were last year.”

But the biggest shock of the week came on Monday, when race officials said someone — or some people — had voted illegally In the semifinal matchup between 747 and 435 Holly.

About 90 percent of the fraudulent votes went to 435 Holly, who lost the election, said Explore.org spokeswoman Candice Rusch. Advance to the semifinals by approximately 7,500 votes. Some illegal votes were cast for the 747, leading the Explore.org team to think it was another scammer’s effort, or to get rid of the smell of a bigger trick.

“It’s disappointing,” Fitz said. “The vote is made up. The bears don’t know what’s going on and they don’t get any reward from us other than our admiration from a distance.”

Explore.org added a captcha step to the voting process to weed out bots and other automated attacks once issues were identified, and returned to review votes for other stages of the contest. They ruled out other widespread fouls.

How fat are the bears from Fat Bear Week?

To avoid giving bad actors any idea of ​​what the future holds, Rusch said they wouldn’t release more details on how the cheating happened, but noted that the team could easily filter out spam votes.

Fat Bear Week superfan Jessica Trucksess told The Washington Post that while the 435 Holly was her winning choice, she just wanted her to win the crown “fairly and equitably” and that someone would “cheat on something” that made her feel Sad to be so stupid and funny. “

Layla Manning, a supporter of 901, said the spirit and enthusiasm for the finals returned after a fan Facebook group discussed the scandal and launched a new campaign for their favorite bear.

Hibernating fat bears are complicated. They might take a class for human health.

“The Katmai bears, these live cams, these Facebook groups, this game — it’s a sanctuary for us as much as the bears,” Manning said in an email. “A lot of people have found them here. peace and camaraderie.”

Despite the cheating scandal, Fat Bear Week 2022 was an overwhelming success, according to organizers.

“We’ve been able to give more people the opportunity to learn about Katmai’s brown bears, transition to watching them on bear cameras, and in the long run we hope to be stewards of the landscape and protect their habitat,” Fitz said.

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