by Lee Rannals
"New webcams have been set up for the Internet public’s viewing, and this time they are capturing the iconic scene of bears snatching their lunch out of a river. Explore.org set up live HD video streams of giant brown bears in Alaska catching salmon in Katmai National Park. Anyone with an Internet connection can now watch these bears catching their dinner by typing “explore.org/bears” in their browser by clicking the links above.
The Brooks Falls cam is located on the banks of a five foot high waterfall, where as many as thirty bears have been spotted at a time catching salmon trying to make their way upstream to spawn. Another camera is located at the mouth of Brooks River and the entrance of Naknek Lake, where nearly 100 bears in the area utilize the lower river to feast on salmon and raise their young before hibernation.
Explore.org said that in the next few days, it will be unleashing additional cameras in the area, one of which will feature an area showing off a part of the river with safe water currents and levels where mothers and their cubs come to take advantage of the salmon-rich area. A Dumpling Mountain camera is also being set up to provide a bird’s eye view of the area, in addition to 10,000 Smokes, which is the site of the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
“A trip to Katmai National Park is a once in a lifetime event for most people and for nature and bear lovers and children everywhere, it is an impractical proposition,” Roy Wood, Chief of Interpretation at Katmai National Park, who spearheaded the initiative with explore.org, said in a press release. “By installing live cams we are giving people the chance to experience the bears, learn from their behaviors and develop the same strong emotional connection almost everyone who comes here has.”
The cameras are the latest edition to explore.org’s Pearls of the Planet initiative, which is a portfolio of video feeds installed throughout the world to show off animals in their natural habitats. This concept is driven by the idea of trying to educate people and deepen their connection to fall in love with nature again. “To me Alaska is one of the last great natural cathedrals on the planet–and the bears and salmon are the high priests in a scared place,” Charles Annenberg, founder of explore.org and VP of the Annenberg Foundation, said in a press release. “We hope people turn to this for inspiration and when they do, they will see lessons these creatures have for us- about cohabitation, instinct hand beauty.”