Today, October 11th, is the final day of voting in the much loved ‘Fat Bear Week‘, where Katmai National Park, along with Explore.org, allow the people to decide which live cam featured bear has become the chonkiest before entering hibernation. If you haven’t heard of this iconic competition, you’re probably doing something wrong. The finals put the robust Bear 901 up against the hefty Bear 747, or ‘Bear Force One’. No matter the winner (I’m rooting for 747), it’s been a good competition, and at the end of the day, all of the competing bears will enter hibernation as bears of ample proportions.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all that good of a competition. On October 9th, Katmai National Park made a shocking announcement via twitter. One bear, 435 or Holly, received over 9,000 votes in a remarkably short period of time after the iconic bear 747 (Bear Force One) held onto the lead for a majority of the day. That’s right, the Fat Bear Week competition had been rocked by voter fraud.
????????????FAT BEAR WEEK SCANDAL????????????
Like bears stuff their face with fish, our ballot box, too, has been stuffed.
— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 10, 2022
“747 was winning was leading in votes for the whole day and by quite a substantial amount. When there were just a few hours of voting left we noticed that 435 Holly received over 9,000 votes in a very short period of time.” – National Park Service Interpretation and Education Program Manager Amber Kraft, according to Rolling Stone
After completing an investigating, explore.org could confirm that the votes came from a massive amount of fake email addresses and, after filtering out the fraud, made it clear that Bear Force One had defeated Holly by around 7,000 votes. The days following the October 9th scandal featured a captcha on explore.org‘s polls in order to filter out bots, and the competition’s hosts did take a look at the previous matches just to make sure no other fraud took place.
???? A Fat Bear Week scandal for the ages ????
Someone stuffed the ballot box! The correct total after our review is:
That makes 747 today’s winner.
Fake votes are discarded, and all the past days’ votes have been reviewed.
We’ll see you tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/HQcyZOWfeG
— explore.org (@exploreorg) October 10, 2022
Why ANYONE, it their right mind, would attempt to commit fraud relating to FAT BEAR WEEK is much beyond me. Perhaps someone had a large sum of money on Holly taking the win? Or maybe someone just cared that much about Holly, or had that much distaste for Bear Force One? There’s a good chance we’ll never know who committed the fraud or why they did commit the fraud, but I sure am happy it was caught.
If you haven’t voted in today’s finals, you can do so here. Without any other scandals, we’ll have a winner by 9pm Eastern Daylight Time.
— Katmai National Park (@KatmaiNPS) October 11, 2022