Meet ‘747’ – The Bear So Massive It’s Named After an Airplane

Written by Opal
Published: January 15, 2023
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A bear named 747, often known as “Bear Force One,” was crowned the winner of Fat Bear Week 2022 by the internet in October of 2022. The over-20-year-old animal which weighs an estimated 1,400 pounds won the competition in 2020 as well. According to Buzzfeed News’ Anna Betts, this year he won the competition by more than 10,000 votes against six-year-old bear 901 in the final round.

The winner of the yearly online tournament, which has a single-elimination tournament of brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, is chosen by receiving the most votes. As per Buzzfeed News, the park is home to more than 2,200 bears, but just a dozen are chosen every year to compete for the honor.

However, Fat Bear Week isn’t just about whose bear weighs the most; voters also take into account a bear’s character, changes in size, and challenges it faced on the way to becoming beefier. The voting website’s vague instructions ask users to select the bear they think best represents fatness. The size of 747, who won the tournament in 2020, undoubtedly helped him to prevail this year.

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Big Bear Fame 

“He is the largest bear I’ve ever seen,” says Mike Fitz, Fat Bear Week creator, and a former Katmai park ranger. “He’s always super fat in the fall, and he’s just a great bear to watch… a tough competitor, one of the more dominant bears at the waterfall.”

Fitz continues by saying, “We don’t know exactly how big he is, but he is a giant among bears. It may be a long time before we see another bear as big as him.” Sounds like 747 is already on his way to winning the 2023 tournament as well! 

Brown bear in water
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Bear 901 put on a terrific showing in her first-ever tournament, even though she ultimately lost to 747 in the championships. In a previous round, she comfortably eliminated four-time winner and incumbent champion 480 Otis by over 23,000 votes.

A hilarious comment on the video below states, “This bear looks like he has shares in the local salmon farms.” Another viewer points out an interesting fact: “Can we all take a moment to appreciate the strength of the tree that withstood this absolute unit using it as a back scratcher?”

Fitz has witnessed 747 consume 15 sockeye fish or about 67,000 calories, in the course of only a few hours. There won’t be any more fish to congratulate the bear’s triumph or any prize for that matter. But he’s still a winner in our hearts and that’s what counts! 


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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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