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Fat Bear Week 2023 winner: What is week-long event, when does it begin and who won as favourite Fat Bear

Bear 747, or Bearforce One, the 2022 Fat Bear Week champion (Image: L. Law)
Bear 747, or Bearforce One, the 2022 Fat Bear Week champion (Image: L. Law)

Mama Bear 128 Grazer is officially the winner of 2023's Fat Bear Week. The event has successfully ran since 2014, the aim of this week is to celebrate the strength of Katmai's brown bears so voters can learn more about the fat bears themselves and gain a greater understanding of Katmai's ecosystem.

So what is Fat Bear Week 2023, and who is this years winner? Here is what you need to know.

What is Fat Bear Week 2023?

Fat Bear Week was founded as Fat Bear Tuesday by former park ranger Mike Fitz in 2014 to help raise awareness of the bears, but it went viral and in 2015, became a week-long event.

Katmai, a national park & preserve in Alaska, US, has been running Fat Bear Week as a way to celebrate the resilience, adaptability and strength of Katmai’s brown bears.

Over the week, the brown bears are matched against each other in a tournament-style competition and online visitors can vote on which bear is ultimately crowned the Fat Bear Week 2023 Champion.

Each bear gets a profile containing their name, identification and biography as well as a picture of the bear in a 'before' pose and an 'after' pose, on Katmai's website.

In total, there are 12 bears for voters to choose from, but in the park, there are around 2,200 brown bears. The bears in the park bulk up on salmon throughout the summer in preparation for their winter hibernation.

Who won Fat Bear Week 2023?

The champion for 2023 has now been annoucned, with Mama Bear 128 Grazer crowned as Queen of Katmai's park. She went against from male bear 32 Chunk in the final, but ended with more than four times the number of votes.

When is Fat Bear Week 2023?

Fat Bear Week usually runs in October and this year, it will take place from 4-10 October with a series of live events hosted on the site.

How can I vote for my favourite fat bear?

Voting is now closed but the tournament is a single-elimination tournament, where two bears are presented in a matchup and identified via numbers and the bear with the most votes advances to the next round.

Human voters could choose their favourite fat bears and put in their vote daily from 8am - 5pm AKDT (5pm - 2am BST) at fatbearweek.org.

Can I see some fat bears?

Of course! Katmai's site has a number of fat bears to look at - some include:

Chunk:

Junior:

and 747:

How fat are they?

The national park's website says Katmai National Park is home to some of the largest brown bears on Earth.

Adult male bears can average between 700 to 900 pounds in mid-summer. In late summer and fall, the biggest males often weigh more than 1,200 pounds. But adult female bears can average smaller than adult males by one-third to one-half.

Who are the previous winners?

In the inaugural Fat Bear Tuesday, the people chose 480 Otis as champion. He went on to reclaim his title for Fat Bear Week in 2016, 2017, and 2021. In 2015, a bear named Beadnose won, and he won again in 2018.

Bearforce One took the crown home in 2020 and 2022 after more than one million votes were cast online during the tournament.