Bear 747 was named the winner of Katmai National Park's Fat Bear Week competition, defeating 32 Chunk in the finals.
The results are in for Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear Week competition. This year’s champ is Bear 747. He got over 41,000 votes, defeating runner-up 32 Chunk. 747 had 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 Explore.org 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," Fitz said. "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 reigning champ 435 Holly in the second round of voting, followed by a victory over 128 Grazer in the competition’s semi-finals. 435 Holly’s cub did not make it out of the first round, and 480 Otis lost to bear 151 Walker in the second. Walker challenged 747 but lost in the semi-final.
The bears will now look to the winter to hibernate, when they will lose a third of that weight living off the excess fat from the summer's harvest.
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