Fat Bear Week 2022 has officially crowned this year’s champion. This year’s winner overcame 11 other bears as well as a cheating scandal to earn the crown.
Fat Bear 747, who dwells in the Alaska Katmai National Park, was selected by fans to earn the title of Fat Bear Week Champion. 747 was announced as the winner Tuesday night on Twitter. This marks 747’s second Fat Bear title, the first being in 2020.
The new reigning champion, 747, is likely one of the fattest brown bears on Earth, weighing in at 1,400 pounds. 747 is known as the Brooks River’s most dominant bear, although he does not need to use aggression to maintain his title — his size is enough to ward off competition.
“Ultimately, 747 ripped apart the salmon — and the competition — to seize his 2nd crown as the 2022 Champion,” Katmai National Park tweeted on Tuesday night.
This year’s runner-up is bear 901. Bear 747 ultimately won with 68,105 votes whereas 901 earned 56,876 votes, according to BBC News.
Earning the title was no easy task this year — an online cheating scandal made sure of that. Voter fraud almost kept Bear 747 from making it beyond the semifinals against Holly.
Explore.org’s Candace Rusch spoke with CNN about the cheating scandal. “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 told CNN.
The fake votes were discarded and it was revealed that 747 would move past the semifinals over Holly.
Fat Bear Week is an annual event put on by Alaska Katmai National Park and Reserve to educate the public and raise awareness for conservation efforts being made in Katmai.