Meet the Fattest Bear of Them All

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

Fat Bear Week, a favorite tradition of Alaska’s Katmai National Park, pits resident bears against one another prior to hibernation season… via internet polls. This year, voting was rocked by a cheating scandal — but bear 747, dubbed “Bear Force One,” has emerged as the fattest of them all.

Fat Bear Week

Leading up to hibernation season, male bears will gain up to 500 pounds, often weighing a total of 1,200 pounds by the start of winer! That fat helps these sleepy bears survive the cold months. It also makes the ferocious creatures look extra cuddly.

So, in 2014, Katmai National Park began taking advantage of the natural cycle. Located on on a peninsula of southern Alaska, the park is home to roughly 2,200 brown bears who spend the fall and summer snacking on salmon along the banks of the Brooks River. Eventually, former park ranger Mike Fitz decided to turn a few into internet celebrities.

The conceit is simple: ask people to vote on which bear is “the fattest,” based on photos. And though fatness does have a quantifiable answer, Fat Bear Week supersedes that notion. In addition to their whopping body weight, winning bears exhibit an overall largeness of character.

The year after its inception, contest went fully digital. And this year, it’s gained more attention than ever — in some part due to an apparent cheating scandal. In 2022, officials discounted a number of fraudulent votes after irregularities were noted during the semi-finals.

Taking that into account, a bear called 747 was crowned the the chunky winner last week.

Bear 747 Takes the Cake (and the Salmon)

Identified simply as “747,” this Alaska bear has done what so many people can only dream of: become an internet celebrity. 747 also won the contest in 2020, but as Fat Bear Week went viral this year, 747 has finally achieved cult status.

His new, appropriate nickname? Bear Force One.

747 crushed the competition by a landslide. Second-place winner 909, a young female, lost by more than 10,000 votes. And to Fat Bear Week founder Matt Fitz, it’s easy to see why.

“He is the largest bear I’ve ever seen,” Fitz told Buzzfeed News. “He’s always super fat in the fall, and he’s just a great bear to watch… a tough competitor, one of the more dominant bears at the waterfall.” In honor of his year-round splendor, Fitz even gave 747 his official 2022 endorsement.

However, Fitz said, “I don’t think my endorsement carries that much weight,” adding that, “It’s a bit of a running joke for me and some of the hardcore bear cam fans.”

Sadly, there is no prize for winning Fat Bear Week. As winter rolls around, 747 will have to live off the land — but we know that’s no problem for him.

Read More: This Bear Ate 76 Pounds of Cocaine… And It Was Just The Beginning

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Molly Ringwald Had Her Twins at 40!

Meet Mia Farrow’s 14 Children!