Nature lovers have crowned the best fat bear of 2022, but only after a super messy vote and a cheating scandal that rocked the competition.
On Tuesday, Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve announced a bear named 747 had been voted the winner of Fat Bear Week, a tournament that celebrates a chunky bear’s success in preparation for winter hibernation.
\u201cTHIS 747 IS CLEARED FOR LANDING. Introducing your 2022 \ud83d\udc51 Fat Bear Week champion.\u201d— explore.org (@explore.org) 1665536416
In a tweet, Explore.org said the winning bear got nearly 38,000 votes out of over 1 million votes. They also noted the votes had been recounted after someone "stuffed the ballot box."
It’s being called a "Fat Bear Week scandal for the ages."
In an interview with CNN, Candice Rush of Explore says officials grew suspicious when 747’s opponent, 435 Holly, received 6,000 votes in a matter of hours. They ended up finding over 9,000 spam votes.
In the end, 747 rightfully received the honour of the fattest bear.
\u201cCongratulations to 747, our 2022 #FatBearWeek champion! Though he may be blissfully unaware of his two titles, the gains are real. In the bear world, fat is fit and these chunky contenders have been working tirelessly to pack on the pounds necessary for survival.\u201d— Katmai National Park (@Katmai National Park) 1665590307
The Explore.Org website says few brown bears ever grow as large as 747, named after the Boeing 747.
Since he was first identified in 2004, the big bear with a blocky muzzle and floppy right ear has become one of the largest brown bears in the world, weighing as much as 1,400 pounds (636 kilograms).
The chunky bear is described as a skilled and efficient angler who is often spotted searching for his next meal in the jacuzzi or near the far pool of Brooks Falls.
This isn’t his first winning title, as 747 also won the competition in 2020.
Congrats to 747 for another win!
As for this year’s competition, it’s unclear at this point who will "bear" the responsibility for the vote tampering.