In these days when keeping indoors is necessary for the greater health of the community around you, contact with the natural world is very much at a premium. For those living in urban or suburban centres, it may have made an already rare experience all but out of reach.
Fret not, however! Whether it’s because you’re currently secluding yourself in order to better protect the realm, or whether it’s simply because there isn’t much greenery where you live anyway, there are ways to experience mother nature without having to venture too far from your front door.
For those with a love of animals or a love of the wilderness in general, here are five choice live cams with a focus on the untamed.
In recent years, the opinions of wolves have taken a sharp 180° spin in public imagination. Once feared as savage beasts and predators of livestock, small children and unwitting grannies, wolves have once again become a noble symbol of primal beauty. Their importance to the planet’s ecosystems as an apex predator – managing the population of herbivores and preventing them from overeating plants – has also come to be recognised by conservationists now trying desperately to preserve the ancestors of all dogs (yes, even pugs).
The International Wolf Centre in Minnesota is one of the largest and most well-known centres for the conservation of wolves. Featuring several large healthy packs on their reserve, the Centre’s staff operate numerous live cams so people can tune in and experience these lupine lords and ladies themselves.
If China has an animal mascot it’s the panda hands down – or maybe paws down?
Appendages aside, pandas have become popular the world over for being cute, cuddly, and surprisingly gentle for being bears. Sadly their numbers have dwindled over the past century as former habitats have been felled by China’s rapid modernisation. Now the bamboo forests that the panda required for food and shelter are much smaller, and as a consequence so are their numbers.
The Wolong Grove Panda Yard was established to help restore the panda numbers and prevent their complete loss. To help raise awareness of pandas and the importance of their conservation work, they’ve set up a live cam in their pens so people the world over can learn more about these magnificent creatures.
As well as tropical beaches, a thriving culture and tranquil retreats, the Caribbean also boasts some of the world’s most varied and extensive biomes for marine life on the planet. Rivalled only by the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, the Cayman Reef draws in tourists from across the globe seeking to suba dive amidst the colourful shoals of tropical fish, thriving reef, and sunken colonial-era ships.
Explore.org has set up a live cam on the East End of the Grand Cayman, affording views a front row seat of the reef and all that is in it. All the joys of a dive without the bother of getting wet!
As well as the tropical seas of the Caribbean, Explore.org has also set up cameras in the tropical forests of the Congo. Much like the wolf and the panda, gorillas are also a species whose numbers have been threatened by encroaching human activity in their usual habitat. The GRACE Centre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo focuses its attention on ensuring both local and rescued gorillas have a safe haven where they can live a full and natural life.
Explore.org has set up live cameras in several locations across the reserve, where footage of the gorillas engaged in daily activities can be found.
Tasmania boasts some of the most pristine environments in Australia, and is a hugely popular destination for backpackers and eco-tourists from across the Commonwealth and the globe. Cradle Mountain especially is perfectly situated almost at the heart of the island, with steep hills, rich forests and untouched wilderness waiting to be explored.
The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has set up a live cam just outside the carpark at Dove Lake, overlooking Cradle Mountain. There, much of the surrounding fauna can be seen wandering the now deserted park. Featuring some of most iconic of Australian wildlife, such as kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, watchers are bound to catch a glimpse of Tasmania’s natural beauty. It's offline until the end of May, so check back in early June to see the restored footage!
Before too long travel will resume, and once again jet-setters kept trapped in their homes for too long will be rearing to get out and explore the world once more. If you’ve been reading this article, perhaps you’re one of them.
We hope the videos have given you a taste of wanderlust regardless, so if you’re curious about the places you’ve seen today we’ve also given some hotels in the area so you can check in and see them in person.
Located near the IWC in the town of Ely, the Adventure Inn specialises in eco-friendly holidays with an emphasis on the outdoors. Operated by a husband and wife team, the Adventure Inn provides a homely welcome that captures the best of the northern woodlands. Rooms are clean, comfortable and environmentally friendly – the Adventure Inn is a proud member of the Green Hotels Association and Green America.
The Wolong Panda Grove is situated far in China’s wilderness, so the nearest city is Chengdu roughly two hours and a half away by car. The Tibetan Hotel, in the northern business district, takes it inspiration from the remote Himalayan kingdom, blending seamlessly Tibetan art and culture with modern convenience.
Offering comfortable, cosy and modern accommodation in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, the Leon Hotel is perfectly suited to see all that the DRC has to offer. It blends African hospitality with Belgian style, making it a fantastic waystation for further explorations into this Central African nation.
The Cayman Reef offers the best diving experiences in the Caribbean Sea, so it’s only appropriate we recommend the best diving hotel in the Cayman Islands. The Compass Point Dive Resort’s location has been carefully chosen to provide the best opportunity for diving enthusiasts. It’s far away from the airport and noise of the city, yet only a hop skip and jump away from the sea. Luxurious room, fantastic food and stunning sea views await.
Tasmania is not only beautiful, but also delightfully compact compared to other Australian states. The state capital of Hobart on the south-eastern coast of the island is therefore within easy reach of all major sites and sights. The Hadley Orient Hotel, in operation for nearly two hundred years, is one of the capital’s most prestigious hotels. Delivering an unsurpassed Tasmanian heritage experience, classically luxurious room and fine dining, it’s the perfect stop for any Australian excursion.
We may be in lockdown right now but it won’t last forever – which natural wonders are you aiming to take in when you're again free to explore the outdoors at home and abroad?