The results are in for Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fat Bear Week competition. This year’s champion is Bear 747. He got over 41,000 votes, defeating runner-up, Chunk.
Bear 747 placed second in last year’s contest with an estimated weight of 1,400 pounds, but he lost to the “Queen of Corpulence” number 435, Holly.
Former Katmai National Park Ranger and naturalist Mike Fitz said last week that 747 met all the criteria of a winner and that he benefited from record salmon runs in the Brooks River, which flows through the park.
“He spent most of the summer just sitting at Brooks Falls fishing. He’s certainly the largest brown that I’ve ever seen fishing at Brooks River over the last ten years or so. He’s a real giant among brown bears.”
Fitz said that by the end of July, most of the bears looked fat enough to hibernate but they continued to feast. The 800,000 sockeye salmon that returned to the river provided plenty of food to make this year’s competition one of the biggest yet.
This year’s runner-up, 32 Chunk, defeated Holly in the second round of voting followed by a victory over Bear 128, Grazer in the competition’s semifinals. Holly’s cub did not make it out of the first round and Bear 480 Otis lost to Bear 151, Walker, in the second. Walker challenged 747 but lost in the semifinal.