Fat Bear Week Winner

Bear 128 Is Crowned Fat Bear Week Winner

There is a new Fat Bear Week winner and her name is Grazer, also known as Bear 128. Grazer is a female bear and the third female to win Fat Bear Week since the competition started in 2014. In some way, we have to thank Charlie Annenberg, the founder of Explore.org, for praising female bears this year. During his live chats with Fat Bear Week host Mike Fitz, he mentioned numerous times how he is in awe with female bears and their strength and determination.

Fat Bear Week Competition

This year, the week-long exciting bear event started on October 4th, with many chunky and hunky bears showing off their gains. Bear 128, Grazer, was one of them. She first emerged in 2005 as a cub and over the years has become one of the best anglers at Brooks River. She is a determined bear and has even fished overnight at the river, which surely helped her gain more weight. When she has cubs to protect, she does it with confidence. She had no problem confronting and attacking larger male bears to protect her cubs. Most bears at Brooks River remember Grazer’s confident attitude and left her alone or stayed out of her way this year.

On the last day of Fat Bear Week, Grazer went against Bear 32 Chunk. In 2007, Chunk was a 2.5-year-old independent male bear. As a young bear, he had a hard time being stern and dominant. He would scrape for leftover salmon and was more interested in playing with other bears. As he got older he gained a whole lot of weight and even more confidence. This year, he became Brooks River’s most dominant male bear. Others would give their fishing spots to him to avoid conflict.

Bear 32 Chunk has come a long way, and has many scars to prove it. Yet, he still lost to Bear 128. In the last round on October 10th voting, 32 Chunk received 23,134 votes while Grazer received 108,321 votes! There is no doubt that Grazer is the new Fat Bear Week winner.

32 Chunk on the left; 128 Grazer on the right

While this mama bear raised two successful cubs in the past, this year she was alone and got to chunk up. For female bears, they must gain a lot of fat so that they can produce healthy, strong cubs. Maybe next spring when Grazer emerges from hibernation she will not be alone.

Overall, Fat Bear Week 2023 was another successful year for the Explore team and the bears at Brooks River. We can’t wait to see what chunky, fat bears emerge next year.

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