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Fat Bear Week 2023: Pick Your Chunky Champion

Vote for your favorite hefty bear in the annual Katmai National Park & Preserve contest celebrating Alaska's brown bears. #FatBearWeek

It's that time of year again - Fat Bear Week is here! The annual Katmai National Park & Preserve contest celebrating Alaska's brown bears has begun, and fans now have the opportunity to vote for their favorite hefty bear. This exciting event showcases bears as they bulk up for winter survival, and it's a chance to witness the resilience, adaptability, and strength of these magnificent creatures.

Despite the potential disruption caused by the government shutdown, Fat Bear Week has successfully launched, and it's time to join in the March Madness-style showdown. With well-known bears like Chunk, Holly, and 747 back in the competition, it's anyone's guess who will emerge as this year's victor.

Last year, the event garnered over 1 million votes from around the world. The crowned champion, 747, affectionately known as Bear Force One, tipped the scales at an impressive 1,400 pounds, securing over 37,900 votes. However, the victory was marred by a scandalous incident of voter fraud. This year, let's hope for a fair and clean election.

Fat Bear Week serves as a celebration of success and survival, highlighting the incredible achievements of Katmai's brown bears. The tournament-style competition allows online visitors to vote for their favorite bear, ultimately crowning the Fat Bear Week 2023 Champion.

While there are a total of 12 contestants in this year's lineup, let's meet some of Scripps News' favorites:

- 32 Chunk: This bear is a force to be reckoned with. Known as one of Brooks River's "largest and most dominant" males, Chunk is an impressive contender.
- 128 Grazer: A true supermom, Grazer has raised two litters of adorable cubs, earning her the title of the undisputed single mom at the park. No male bear dares to challenge her.
- 747 Bear Force One: The reigning champion from 2022, 747 is an absolute unit weighing approximately 1,400 lbs. Despite his adorable floppy ears, he is a formidable presence. Park officials estimate him to be over 20 years old.
- 435 Holly: This natural blond beauty is known for her chunkiness. She gained recognition for adopting a lone cub into her family and raising it as her own. Among the bears at Brooks River, she is considered one of the most eligible bachelorettes.

Voting for Fat Bear Week 2023 is now open on You have until October 10 to cast your votes and support your favorite bear. Visit the website to explore the competition and be a part of this thrilling event.

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