Today Explained: Alaska's Fat Bear Week
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The ‘Fat Bear Week’ photography competition has been hit with thousands of fake votes, and it just shows that nothing is safe from the wave of cheating allegations rocking the globe.

The worlds of chess, poker, competitive fishing and Irish dancing have been rocked by accusations of foul play over recent times, with fresh scandals springing up all the time.

The latest incident came in Fat Bear Week, which focuses on the bears of Alaska's Katmai National Park and sees people vote for their favourite rotund animal spotted out in the wild.

It’s now in its eight year, but the 2022 edition was hit with unprecedented levels of voter fraud before announcing its winner.

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The semi-final of the contest saw the polls hit by a spam attack, which saw fake votes cast in favour of the bear known as ‘435 Holly’ over the bear ‘747’.

The votes came from fake email addresses linked to a smaller number of IP addresses, which meant the park was able to filter the spam votes from the real ones.

“FAT BEAR WEEK SCANDAL,” the Katmai National Park account posted on Sunday. “Like bears stuff their face with fish, our ballot box, too, has been stuffed.”

It added: "It appears someone has decided to spam the Fat Bear Week poll, but fortunately it is easy for us to tell which votes are fraudulent.”

Thankfully, justice was served and the brown bear 747 progressed to the final round of voting where it was eventually crowned winner after weighing in at an incredible 1,400lbs (635kg).

"Ultimately, 747 ripped apart the salmon - and the competition - to seize his 2nd crown as the 2022 Champion," the park tweeted after the result was announced.

The contest follows the bears as they prepare for hibernation, bulking up in order to protect against the harsh winter in Alaska.

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