The 2023 winner of Alaska’s annual Fat Bear Week competition has been crowned - and it is a robust female bear named 128 Grazer.
The ursine tough-woman outshone her rivals in an online vote, defeating 11 other from the enchanting surroundings of Katmai National Park. 128 Grazer did things the hard way, beating “corpulent” two-time previous winner 747, along the way in a competition that pits bears against an opponent in knockout brackets until two face each other in public votes.
After navigating three rounds of voting, Grazer faced a climactic encounter with 32 Chunk, a colossal male bear characterised by a "prominent posterior”. The secret to Grazer’s success? Well she’s a dab hand at catching salmon - with an appetite to match.
Introduced to the Brooks River in Katmai National Park in 2005, 128 Grazer has since earned a reputation as one of the region's most accomplished anglers. The National Park Service commented, "Grazer's exceptional blend of skill and toughness positions her as one of Brooks River's most formidable, successful, and adaptable bears”.
Away from the Fat Bear Week competition, she has successfully raised two litters of cubs and is known as a "particularly protective mother”.