While we’re all social distancing, the zoos and aquariums are closed, and traveling to a wildlife watching destination is out too. Thankfully in our digital era, there are lots of webcams that can allow you to witness all sorts of animals in a variety of spaces right from home, from manatees in Florida to wildlife in Africa. It might just inspire you to plan a trip in the future for viewing them in the real world.
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San Diego Zoo's Ape Cam
The San Diego Zoo has a number of animal cams, including an Ape Cam where you can watch and orangutans and siamangs, an endangered species of gibbon from the tropical forests of Indonesia and Malaysia. Keep an eye out for the young siamang who was born in November of 2018 – it was a big surprise when mom Eloise gave birth at 37 years old, while on birth control. The zookeepers didn’t even know she was pregnant. The infant, Selamat, was premature, but thanks to mom’s expert care she’s been thriving.
Hattiesburg Zoo's Sloth Cam
Hattiesburg Zoo in Mississippi has a sloth cam, and who doesn’t love sloths? It seems the whole world has fallen head over heels with these slow-moving creatures after the animated film “Ice Age” featured lovable Sid, a ground sloth that won the arts of kids and adults alike. When actress Kirsten Bell appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” talking about her obsession with the animal, there was no stopping the Internet’s obsession. Now you can watch the zoo’s sloth family, Chewy, Mo and Baby Maple, right from home. Just remember they usually aren’t active during the day, so save this one for a late night.
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Cam
A top aquarium in the United States, The Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to a popular sea otter exhibit. Visitors love watching the animals’ adorable faces and playful antics – sometimes they even hold “hands” while they’re sleeping to keep from floating away from each other. Now you can watch the aquarium’s favorite creatures, native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean, on its Sea Otter Cam from wherever you are in the world.
Atlanta Zoo's Panda Cam
Pandas are another popular animal that is easy to fall in love with, and they can be watched live on the Atlanta Zoo’s Panda Cam. Their irresistible antics are recognizable in a goofy way that few other species can match. Ever seen the video of the one that kept tumbling down a snowy slope? Enough said. Of course, while they may seem quite cuddly, these black-and-white creatures are actually solitary, but it doesn’t hurt to imagine snuggling up to that soft thick fur.
International Wolf Center's Wolf Cam
If you like wolves, check out the cams at the International Wolf Center, featuring Grizzer, part of the Retired Pack, enjoying his older age by taking advantage of three enclosures: the Back Habitat, Pack Holding Area and East Side Retirement. He can often be spotted by the rotating webcam near the East Side Retirement area where he frequently rests, as staff advises. The Exhibit Pack, which is aimed at teaching visitors all about wolves, has two dens with four ambassador wolves: Denali, Boltz, Axel and Grayson.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo Lion Cam
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. has multiple animal cams, and they’re some of the most popular on the Internet. Big cat lovers won’t want to miss the lion cam to check out some of the world’s most social felines. The zoo is home to six African lions—males Luke, Shaka and Jumbe and females Shera, Amahle and Naba. For families with kids who want to watch, it offers learning opportunities too, with a packet of activities that can be downloaded for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Penguin Cam
While this may not be Africa, Antarctica or the Falkland Islands, you can watch the birds that look as if they’re wearing tuxedos on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s penguin cam. Its African penguins are fed in the Splash Zone exhibit several times throughout the day, with fish tossed in to stimulate forage behavior, or by hand to be sure they get their daily vitamin, you can often see them underwater, diving in and darting around to catch their meal.
Georgia Aquarium's Beluga Cam
It’s always best to see beluga whales (and any other type of whale) in their wild habitats, of course. Belugas are small, white whales that live in the chilly Arctic, and some subarctic locations, including the St. Lawrence River of Quebec. In the summer, some 60,000 of them can be seen in the far north of Manitoba in Churchill, something to note for your future travels. But for now, if you want to see these gentle, highly social, entertaining creatures that always look their smiling, you can visit Georgia Aquarium’s Beluga Cam.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Tiger Cam
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to Sumatran tigers, males Denver and Rakan, and females Diana, Majel, Joanne, Cathy, and Debbie. These animals are from the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are said to play a key role in the maintenance of balance within the ecological system by preventing the overpopulation of their prey. Sadly their population was listed as Critically Endangered with just 400 to 500 remaining, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to see them in the wild but you can watch them on the park’s tiger cam.
African River Wildlife Cam
You can watch for African wildlife outside of the zoos on the African River Wildlife cam in Kenya, located upriver from the watering hole at the Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia County. It offers views of the wildlife corridors on both sides of the river, with opportunities to spot everything from giraffes and elephants to kudus. As the site notes, there are many creatures that make their way to the waterhole and the fields behind it called Tranquility Glade or Basking Beach. And, if you watch between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Kenya time (UTC+3) you can catch a spectacular sunrise too.
Dublin Zoo's African Savanna
The Dublin Zoo, located inside Dublin’s Phoenix Park, hosts multiple cams, including the African Savanna cam. This is its largest habitat, home to a species of antelope that’s now extinct in the wild, the elegant scimitar-horned oryx which is believed to be behind the legend of the unicorn. Just a century ago, there were hundreds of thousands of these desert-adapted animals that roamed the Sahara and Sahel regions of Northern Africa. Conservation scientists are working on reintroduction programs in the vast desert ecosystem, but in meantime, see if you can spot them on the zoo’s cam, along with zebras, ostrich, giraffes and rhinos.
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge's Cam
The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is located just 28 miles from the San Francisco coast, made of up four groups of islands with the waters surrounding the islands protected as part of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The food-rich marine ecosystem attracts all sorts of marine life, including dolphins, seals, sea lions, whales and seabirds every summer and fall to feed and breed. From its live streaming cam you may be able to spot humpback, blue, and gray whales, along with great white sharks, five species of sea lions and seals, and 13 species of seabirds, including tufted puffins.
The Audobon's Puffin Cam
The Audobon offers the Puffin Loading Ledge Cam which overlooks a puffing loafing area at Seal Island in Maine, home to a summer field station for Project Puffin. The island’s population of puffins were decimated by overhunting in 1887, but the project has helped them to make a comeback with around a thousand Atlantic puffin chicks from Newfoundland hand-reared and released here during the 1980s. Today there are over 500 pairs that nest on the island. You can watch them from May through August, along with murres and razorbills.
Katmai National Park's Brown Bears
Explore.org offers some great nature live cams, including this one in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. When the snow begins to melt here in the spring and the rivers begin to roar, the brown bears emerge from hibernation hungry. By late June, many of the animals are out on the water competing for their meal which includes as many as 30 sockeye salmon Watch them feast on the fish that leap up Brooks Falls and keep an eye out for mama bears as they come out their cubs. Bald eagles and the occasional wolf can be seen as well, all hoping to fill their appetites.
The Gorilla Forest Corridor Cam
Explore.org also offers the Gorilla Forest Corridor cam at The Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center – its live cam is set up so that it captures the animals as they walk through a popular jungle corridor that connects their night quarters with forest habitat. Occasionally you might see them stop to make a nest here or graze on the vegetation. While it can be viewed anytime, your best bet for watching is in the morning, from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. eastern time.