It’s official: Katmai National Park has crowned its 2022 Fat Bear.
The national park in Alaska hosts a highly popular annual voting bracket as part of Fat Bear Week, based on footage captured through nature cams and photos of various chunky four-legged contenders.
The park, which includes the Brooks River, is home to some of the largest brown bears on Earth.
This year’s champion is a bear known to park officials as 747. The bear, rightfully named in line with a jumbo jet, was also deemed winner in 2020.
“In the bear world, fat is fit and these chunky contenders have been working tirelessly to pack on the pounds necessary for survival,” the park wrote on social media while announcing the crowned winner on Wednesday (Oct. 12).
This year’s online competition garnered more than one million votes, marking a new record for the park and “a lot of love for these flourishing fat-tabulous bears!”
However, Fat Bear Week didn’t come without scandal, with the park alleging someone spamming the polls with fake votes during the Semi Final which had 747 pitted with contender 435. Luckily, park officials were able to remove the fraudulent support and move 747 into the finals.
🚨🚨🚨FAT BEAR WEEK SCANDAL🚨🚨🚨— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 10, 2022
Like bears stuff their face with fish, our ballot box, too, has been stuffed.
Bears start to prepare for hibernation in October, eating upwards of 90 pounds of food per day. This leads to some bulking to over 1,000 pounds in weight before hitting snooze through the winter.