New Fat Bear Week Tournament Cheating Scandal in Alaska’s Katmai National Park

Cheating isn’t just for chess, it’s apparently also an issue in the incredibly competitive world of fat osos, otherwise known as Fat Bear Week (FBW).

On Sunday, Alaska’s Katmai National Park announced via Twitter that the popular poll to crown the park’s crowd favorite as the park’s largest non-marine mammal (sorry to all the whales) was unsolicited.

FBW is a one-elimination tournament-style competition in which the public can visit to vote for their favorite bear, as some of the most famous salmon of Katmai’s 2,000 residents go head-to-head over the course of some days.

“The 480 ‘Otis’ returned early this season, looking favorable to take on the competition once again,” said a statement from the park on the launch of FBW. “Can the 747 or 435 ‘Holly’ reclaim the title they held in previous years?” Is there a dark horse (er, brown bear) in the race that can upset trophy winners like 128 ‘Grazer’, 32 ‘Chunk’ or 151 ‘Walker’ trying to claim a maiden victory?’

That way you get the tone of the whole thing. A total boatload of PBS-style educational fun. With literally nothing at stake, it’s certainly surprising that someone would send bots to fill the digital ballot box for the Unnamed Bear 747.

After the 747 high vote total was adjusted to represent several thousand clearly fraudulent votes, according to park officials, the semi-final round victory was awarded to Holly (Bear 435).

All of this seems to reinforce Elon Musk’s infamous complaints about the actual number of bots on Twitter. Not to mention the growing sense that cheaters exist everywhere from chess to poker… and let’s not even touch on the subject of politics where accusations are being freely dropped from all sides.

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But perhaps even more entertaining than the latest attempt at dark contest cheating is the live cam of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, which provides an interesting window into how these bears get so fat in the first place.

After about fifteen minutes of watching the reel from the current, this location looks like the Ursa equivalent of an all-inclusive resort where large groups of bears laze in the water just waiting for salmon to literally jump into their mouths. After they have had their fill, they retire to sleep until spring.

If any bears out there are looking for a co-author for a self-help book, I think you all are really onto something to share with the (over)working world. Hit me.

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