Bear 747, aka “Bear Force One”, is one epic super-chonk of a brown bear, with a blocky muzzle and a floppy right ear, he breaks the scales at A WHOPPING 1,400 POUNDS! He’s considered one of the largest, if not the largest, brown bear alive today.
But it takes more than weight to win Fat Bear Week and if you’re not familiar with the competition, let me fill you in. Taking place annually in the Katmai National Park in Alaska, which has the largest brown bear population in the world. Their bears are tracked through the summer as they fatten up for their winter hibernation.
On top of each bear’s estimated weight, voters are asked to consider how much they’ve changed in size, their personality and swagger, and what challenges they were able to overcome. This also accommodates for female competitors, who are usually around half the size of male brown bears. Voting is held via explore.org.
747 first won in 2020, with 480 Otis (a four-time champion) winning in 2021. Now 20 years old, 747 holds down the best fishing spot in the park many due to his massive size, without the need for aggression.
But despite the cards stacked in his favour, a young female upstart almost took his crown. Bear 901 was first spotted when she was 2.5 years old in 2018. She has blonde-rimmed, triangular ears, beautiful golden brown fur at the start of summer, with badass grizzled brown fur in the fall.
Through the summer, she was keen to defend her fishing spots and clearly was successful as she TRIPLED IN SIZE! And before she lost to 747, she beat four-time champ 480 Otis in the semi-final. She might also be pregnant, so we can hope to see a few cubs cheering her on to win at next year’s Fat Bear Week.
This year’s competition wasn’t free from controversy, with 747 almost getting knocked out in the semi-finals, but took the win due to voter fraud. He was up against 435 Holly, with judges noticing a huge burst of suspiciously last-minute votes that were found to be fraudulent. Their online system is now using a captcha test to help prevent future voter fraud.
And for a bear enjoying some leisure time cooling off instead of heated competition, check out this bear sipping a margarita in a hot tub.