Watching animal live streams is incredibly addictive, whether its manatees dancing underwater, panda cubs chewing on bamboo, or a lioness chasing down her kill in the African savannah. Realising the potential for tourism (and conservation), a clutch of zoos and parks around the world now have channels that stream live footage from discreetly placed cameras in animal enclosures, near watering holes, and under water. The inhabitants are unperturbed by their presence—and we get to tune in too. These are some of our favourites.
Until you make the time to visit them in the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington D.C., follow the adventures of the adorable giant panda twosome, Mei and Bei Bei. No matter how rough your day is, this cuddlesome twosome is likely to make it better. www.nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/webcams/giant-panda.cfm.
There’s something oddly soothing about watching these luminous blooms (that’s what groups of jellies are called) floating across your screen. It’s the perfect mid-day break from work. www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/live-web-cams/jelly-cam.
Remind yourself of the bear necessities of life as you watch mama grizzly bears herd their little ones in and out of streams at Alaska’s Katmai National Park. www.explore.org/live-cams/player/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls.
Beluga pods generally live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters of the world. But this threesome lives in Vancouver Aquarium in Canada, and they love to play. www.vanaqua.org/learn/see-and-learn/live-cams/beluga-cam.
Giraffes, zebras, lions, cheetah, wildebeest: tune into Africam’s livestreams to observe these magnificent animals (and others) that inhabit the Africa’s wilds. The site has numerous channels and streams videos from many national parks and reserves on the continent; they’ll even email you when a big cat strays into the camera’s line of sight. www.africam.com.
Watch feeding sessions in Dublin Zoo’s wolf enclosure every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. www.dublinzoo.ie/158/Wolves.aspx.
Observe the gentle manatees of Blue Spring State Park in Florida, USA, as they swim, nuzzle and twirl together underwater. Even watching the gentle giants sleep is deeply calming. www.savethemanatee.org/savethemanateecam.html.
Kamakshi Ayyar is a former member of NGT India's digital team. She is partial to places by the sea and desserts in all forms. When she isn't raving about food, she's usually rambling on about the latest cosmic mysteries. She tweets as @kamakshi138.