Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z: Could Spend My Life Watching Zoo Cams

Elephants and Lions and Otters, Oh my!

Animals are amazing, IMO. That's why watching them on zoo cams is one of:
My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.
Please note - if you computer and speeds are fast enough and you have enough broadband, you can stream any of the video feeds. Do not try to stream them all at once or your 'puter will hate you.  Pause or stop the others before hit play on the next.

I'm not really a birder, but I really enjoy watching these eagles in their nest. Aren't they beautiful?

From the Woodland Park site:
Woodland Park Zoo's Bear Cam features two grizzly bears in the award-winning Northern Trail exhibit at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo’s two grizzly bears are brothers named Keema and Denali and are 17 years old (2011).

The brothers arrived here from Washington State University in 1994. WSU maintains a small population of grizzlies in order to conduct long-term studies on bear nutrition.

Various artificial elements including rockwork, a stream and deep pool that maintains 20-30 live trout, many that have lived in the pool for several years. The bears actively “fish” for the trout, occasionally teaming up to corral and capture the trout.

NOTE: Sometimes the bears are out of view from the camera when they are fishing for trout in the pool. They are also much less active during the colder winter months.

The bears are scatter-fed throughout the day --- i.e., small food items are placed throughout the exhibit, allowing them to wander searching for their food, just as they would in the wild. This gives them the opportunity to explore the full area of their exhibit. Since this is a large exhibit, they may not always be visible.

Brown (grizzly) bears are an endangered species in the lower 48 contiguous United States (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). We partner with the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project to protect bears and teach local communities how to live in harmony with these magificent animals.

Learn more about the bears and Woodland Park Zoo's other amazing animals at 

Herd of elephants, including babies? Follow the link to the San Diego Safari Park Elephant Cam.

The National Zoo (Smithsonian) has a multitude of zoo cams for creatures ranging from cheetahs to ferrets to lions.  (Note: depending on your browser, you may need to install a Windows Player Plug-in to view some of the zoo cams.)

Sometimes you can see something amazing, like this hatching of a California Condor chick.(There were once only 22 of them left alive. With an intensive breeding and recovery program, there are now going on 400, with many living in the wild again.)

June 2009 - Grand Canyon, South Rim. Flying free.
California condors are extremely ugly and clumsy on the ground, but amazingly graceful in the air. It's very hard to tell when they are aloft, but their wingspan can reach up to nine feet. I feel very privileged to have seen several during my trip that summer. (Yes, I cried like a baby.)

Navajo Bridge over the Colorado. If you can spot the ID tag, you can go into the ranger station and they will look up the bird and her/his history. The heads don't become the telltale red until they reach about 4-5 years old, and they can't breed until they are 6-7. This bird was a young female. Condors are very social creatures and she seemed to like showing off for an appreciative crowd, though I did not get the best aerial photos of her.

Zoos in general leave me with mixed feelings. When I was a little girl, zoos were more arranged for the convenience of the visitor, rather than the captive animals. In recent years, that has been changing; habitats have been expanding, animals that are social, like elephants, apes, etc.  are now being kept in groups with their own kind, rather than the equivalent of solitary confinement. If the visitors can't easily see the animal, rather than penning the animals close to the windows and fences, they may add a zoo cam.

Yet, the animals are still confined and kept in an unnatural environment. There is something magical about seeing a wild animal in person; seeing the way sun or water glistens on its coat or scales or feathers, smelling the scent it exudes, hearing the cries and noises it makes, and if we're lucky, looking in the creature's eyes, that all the zoo cams and Nat Geo extraordinary photos can't reveal. And yes, most zoos are participating in one or several conservation programs that are truly bringing back animals, like the California condor, that would have gone extinct in the wild (mostly because of human action).

Still, I feel a bit guilty whenever I watch zoo cams or visit a zoo, and try to donate whenever I can to conservation projects. Minimize my carbon footprint and all that. It seems ludicrous to crowd animals into extinction so we can all watch hi-def video of the way they used to be, on our flat screen TV's.

My A-Z theme is My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.

I hope you enjoyed your visit today, and the rest of my posts on this theme.  Maybe are even Following me, yeah!  Which I totally appreciate and am so glad I'm here.

Following you back... *looks down, embarrassed* Right now my blog roll is severely constipated, and until I figure out how to unplug some of the stoppages, Google won't let me add more. So I don't auto-Follow back because I can't. Now that the challenge is over, if you Follow me and comment semi-regularly, I will find a way to do the same. Just haven't worked out all the kinks yet.  (It's not you, it's me.)

Can you spend hours watching critters on zoo cams?
What's your favorite animal to watch, either via zoo cam or in the wild?
Got other fun sites beginning with the letter "Z"?