Fat Bear Week 2020 crowns super-chonk 747 as winner

A beautiful butterball of a bear nicknamed "Bear Force One" is the new champion of the soul-soothing contest we all needed this year.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Super-chonk 747 captured the Fat Bear Week crown for 2020.


Congratulations, 747, you are the hero we need right now. The world of 2020 may be a nightmare circus, but at least we had Fat Bear Week, an annual contest run by the Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska and nature livecam site Explore.org.

The competition pits rotund, salmon-gorged brown bears against each other in a popularity contest that aims to crown the chunkiest as champion. A bear known as 747 (or "Bear Force One" as his fans call him) took top honors on Tuesday, beating out a crowd of roly-poly challengers. 

Thanks to his gargantuan girth, 747 was an early favorite before the contest started on Sept. 30. He beat out bear 32 (nicknamed "Chunk"). Chunk had some sizable tummy reserves this year, but 747's junk in the trunk (and all over) was too much to handle.

Fat Bear Week is a celebration of how bears prepare for winter hibernation. It's a critical time when they need to pack on the pounds for survival.

Explore.org shared a video of the new king of chonk enjoying a river dip.

Bear Force One severely trounced Chunk with 47,055 votes compared to the runner-up's 21,854. But they're both winners as their copious fat stores are likely to see them safely through the lean months of winter hibernation. 

You know who else is a winner here? I am. Because for one too-short week, I buried myself in bear fat and fluff and dreamed of sleeping the rest of 2020 away.