A popular contest in an Alaskan national park has faced a flood of spam votes.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – As the bears in the Katmai National Park stuffing themselves with salmon, it seems that someone else is stuffing the bin.

The Alaska Park conducts a week-long survey each year, Fat Bear Week, to celebrate the success of the brown bears fattening themselves up for the winter. The popular contest gathers thousands of votes from all over the world — including, apparently, fake ones.

“THE SCANDAL FOR THE WEEK OF THE FAT BEAR!” announced a Facebook post from the park. “Just as bears stuff their mouths with fish, our ballot box was stuffed too. It looks like someone decided to spam the Fat Bear Week poll, but luckily it’s easy for us to identify which votes are fake.”

RELATED: Fat Bear Week Voting Begins: Meet the Chubby Champions

Organizers first became suspicious when one stocky contender, 435 or “Holly”, returned after losing thousands of votes in a matter of hours.

“While it is unheard of for a bear to return so late at night, it is a very rare occurrence,” a spokesperson for co-organizer explore.org said via email. “We ended up finding just over 9,000 spam votes.”

The spam voting seemed to stop when Holly became the leader, but the plot — like a bear preparing for winter — deepened: “There were also a few spam votes for 747, maybe to bring us down?”

After eliminating the spam votes, 747 won the match and will compete against 901 when voters decide which bear is best prepared for hibernation.

The scandal rocked Bears fans, with some wondering if earlier polls had been affected. “What about Otis?!?” asked one Facebook commenter. – He was robbed!

However, the park assured voters that it had reviewed previous matches and found no fraud. Explore.org also added a captcha to the survey — something the organization says appears to be working so far.

It was not possible to get a comment about the scandal from the bears.


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