SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2014 – Forget about “Big Brother,” the Housewives and the singing/dancing/comedy talent shows. The summer’s best reality show is back for 2014: Katmai National Park’s Brooks Falls Bear Cam, live every day from Alaska.
Every summer, hundreds of brown bears converge on the Brooks River in the Katmai National Park and Preserve to fish for stream-raised sockeye (red) salmon heading up river. Brooks Falls presents a natural barrier for the salmon and makes an exceptionally good fishing ground that draws brown bears.
Park rangers set up webcams from the viewing platform on a bridge overlooking the river a few years ago thanks to a $150,000 grant. Now you can enjoy the same view as those visiting in person from anywhere in the world with an internet connection thanks to live streaming video from those webcams.
The cameras operate during daylight hours from late June through the fall. The webcams fired up for the 2014 season this week, and Katmai’s bears and salmon are already putting on a great show. It isn’t uncommon to see five or six large male brown bears at once positioned in prime fishing spots along the falls. As many as 25 bears have been seen fishing at Brooks Falls at the same time during peak periods later in July.
You can see the Bear Cams on the Katmai website, and also on the partner website at Explore.org via Ustream. You can sign up for email alerts that will let you know daily when the webcams are live. Keep up with any news or chat about the Brooks Falls Bear Cams on Twitter with the hashtag #bearcam.
Watch the live stream here:
The main camera focuses on Brooks Falls, but there are several other views available. Rangers will sometimes manipulate the cameras and zoom in on activity or individual bears.
Katmai’s brown bears are diurnal, active during daylight hours. But bears not accustomed to being watched by observers from the platform are more active between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time, which is 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. In summer, something can be going nearly any time, and the scenery even without the bears is spectacular, with birds including the occasional bald eagle. Alaska Daytime Time is four hours behind Eastern Time, and sunset doesn’t take place until nearly midnight, which makes for fun evening viewing with your kids.
This year, a bear family with three spring cubs born over the winter months has been spotted and photographed by rangers. It’s possible they will make an appearance on the Brooks Falls webcams sometime this summer. Some bears return to Brooks Falls every summer. Regular viewers will begin to recognize individual bears, some of which have been given names including Ted and Otis.
Bears can catch and eat a lot of salmon. A larger male bear may catch and eat as many as 30 salmon per day. They fish actively from late June through mid-October. Bears will wait patiently in a favorite spot in the whirlpools of the falls, snatching live salmon, or stroll along the falls looking for activity. When a bear catches a salmon, it will snack on the live fish as it wildly tries to escape the bear’s jaws. Circling sea gulls will pounce on anything that gets dropped into the water by a careless bear.
It’s mesmerizing, almost meditative to watch the bears as they go about their activity among the beautiful scenery. It is all the more fascinating knowing you are being transported thanks to technology live to a small part of our planet, watching Mother Nature at work in real time thousands of miles away. Forget wasting time playing Candy Crush or watching cat videos. The Bear Cams will draw you in and you’ll be hooked all summer.
The cameras are located at Brooks Falls at about the midpoint in the river. One camera is located 100 yards downstream of the falls at the Riffles. At the mouth of the river, two more cameras are attached to the Lower River Platform and one camera is underneath the floating bridge. Finally, one camera is located on near the summit of Dumpling Mountain.
The webcams are solar powered and will stay on as long as sunlight and weather allow. In 2013 the cameras ran intermittently all the way through December.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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