Watching wildlife on the web
From reality television to Facebook Live, modern Americans seem fascinated by “experiencing” things remotely — that is, being a part of something without actually being present.
Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at an upcoming movie, a virtual tour of a pro athlete’s home, or an augmented view of Mount Everest through virtual reality goggles, there is ample opportunity to live vicariously through others from the comfort of our own homes.
Keeping with the times, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has recognized this appeal and found a way to blend technology with nature through its increasingly popular wildlife live-streams coordinated throughout the state. Powered by a company called HD OnTap, viewers can tune in online to view unique sights they normally wouldn’t get to see firsthand.
Currently, there’s a live feed of the snow geese migration at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area from Willow Point in Lancaster County and an up-close-and-personal black bear den cam under what appears to be a porch in Monroe County. (To view the geese migration live stream, click here. For the black bear live stream, click here.)
The adult female bear has at least one cub and is tagged in both ears, piquing curiosity and garnering attention from school-aged children and web-savvy senior citizens alike.
“For viewers, the live-streams provide round-the-clock, behind-the-scenes looks at wildlife,” said Steve Smith, Game Commission Bureau of Information and Education director.
“These live-streams provide an incredible educational opportunity, allowing us to witness wildlife intimately in a manner that’s simply not possible in the wild with our own two eyes,” Smith said. “That’s one of the reasons they’ve proven so popular, and we’re proud to offer these two for viewers to enjoy in the coming months.”
The commission previously offered an Elk Country Visitor Center live-stream in Elk County and a bald eagle nest cam stream out of Hanover in York County. Last year, the Hanover nest produced two non-viable eggs, but according to the Facebook group Hanover PA Eagle Cam, the eagles are back on their nest again this year.
Though it’s not quite as authentic as the real thing, it’s probably the closest most want to get to, say, a mother bear and her cubs.