The Katmai National Park and Preserve has set up five live streams that capture the daily lives of eight brown bears in Alaska. The live streams provide viewers from around the world a chance to watch these bears hunt and fish for salmon and, quite possibly, unexpected drama.
The live streams, set up in the Brooks Camp area of the park, have become a seasonal viewing experience for fans. The cams capture the lives of eight bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve, which include males trying to assert their dominance, mother bears teaching cubs and bears fishing for salmon. The cams are set up at Brooks Falls, a popular fishing spot; the Lower River, where mother bears and cubs tend to stay; and the Riffles, a secondary fishing location for the bears.
Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska is known for its brown bears and at peak fishing season, up to 25 bears can be seen hunting for salmon at Brooks Camp. The live streams have been upgraded to include features that will let the user share images and create a more interactive viewing experience. Live chats with park rangers and experts are also scheduled, the Associated Press reports.
A trip to Katmai, which is located about 250 miles west of Anchorage and only accessible by float plane, can be expensive and the live streams open up the park to more would-be visitors. Speaking to AP, park ranger Michael Fitz said, “We still want people to have an understanding of what Katmai is like, and enjoy, especially enjoy the brown bears that are here.”
There are new live streams set up at Brooks Camp, including a view that puts users eye-level with the bears, notes AP. The bears set up at Brooks Camp to catch salmon that are swimming upstream to spawn. At the Riffles, where bears and fisherman share the same space, there's a pedestrian bridge near the river, and another cam is placed underwater, where viewers can hopefully see salmon or an up-close view of the bears fishing. A new interactive feature of the live streams will let users take screenshots that can be shared with other viewers.
Part of the appeal of the brown bears live stream is the unexpected. As AP notes, one incredible event witnessed by viewers was the aftermath of a brown bear named Lurch killing another bear. Lurch was seen protecting a kill site, notes AP, and viewers later witnessed the bear eating a smaller bear, confirming the belief he had killed the bear as an act of survival. The event divided viewers -- some wanted the bear killed and were fearful that it would become too aggressive, while others understood the survival instincts of Lurch as he prepared to hibernate for the winter.
The live streams, courtesy of a partnership between Explore.org and the Katmai National Park and Preserve, can be viewed below. The live streams will run until the winter, when the bears go into hibernation.
The Brooks Fall live stream will feature numerous bears hunting for salmon. The Lower River live stream provides viewers with a look at mother bears and cubs. The Riffles live stream features mother bears, cubs and smaller male bears. The River live stream is set up on a floating bridge for an "eye-level" view. The Dumpling Mountain live stream gives viewers a glimpse of the entire area of Brooks Camp.