Bear Cam Season Is an Unmissable Online Event — According to My Fiancée, at Least

In 2018, I sent my then-girlfriend a message that changed our lives for eternity. I sent Isabel Moon a link to the Katmai National Park’s brown bear cams. From June until October, this Alaskan park live streams these bears catching salmon. And Isabel became completely obsessed. 

Katmai National Park
Image: Getty Images

For the next several years, when bears would leave their hibernation and the salmon started swimming upstream, she was glued to these cams. It was her breakfast companion. It was beside her every weekend. At times, it felt like the brown bears had replaced me as her boyfriend. 

Now, I knew that Isabel would like this stream, as she’s a nature documentary junkie. However, I didn’t know what sort of monster I was creating. Nor I was keen to learn what kept her on these bear cams for so long.

But it’s now 2023. The bear cams are live again. A few months after this stream ends, Isabel and I are having a wedding. If there was ever a time to learn why Isabel likes these bear cams so much, it’s now. 

Isabel Moon
Image: Isabel Moon

On June 23, I sat with Isabel, and we had a heart-to-heart. I asked her why she loved the brown bear cams so much. Here are my love’s answers.

Isabel Moon and the Katmai Bear Cams

According to Isabel, she loves the Katmai bear cams ‘cause they’re a chill vibe. She enjoys that they don’t demand all of your attention, that you can just sit with these bears.

“It’s simply a calming, beautiful experience,” said Isabel. “You hear the sounds of the rushing water, birds calling, and some bear sounds too.”

“I like to keep the stream on during work, on a small window to the side of the screen. I suppose it’s like white noise or ASMR. If I’m stressed, I can just watch a bear for a few minutes.”

Isabel also gets hyped when these bears catch the salmon. She is stoked when the stream amps things up a notch. 

“One day, I was watching 747, a fan favourite brown bear, chowing down on some salmon. But then a wolf walked past, and a bald eagle landed on a nearby tree. It was like a real-life Bob Ross painting.”

Image: Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear Competition

Each year, Katmai National Park hosts a Fat Bear Competition. This competition pits its bears against each other, and the general public votes on which bear has gained the most weight. It’s vital that these bears are thick in order to survive their hibernations. 

For better or worse, Isabel loves the Fat Bear Competition. The bigger and fluffier these bears are, the more Isabel yells, “Cute.”

Last year, 747 won the Fat Bear Competition. In 2023, Isabel is hoping that her fave bear, 345 Holly, can beat him. 

345 Holly
Image: Explore Live Nature Cams

As per Isabel, “Holly is a super mum. Not only did she go toe to toe with 747 in the fat bear competition, but she managed to become huge while also keeping her cubs alive.”

“What’s more, she’s even adopted a year-old cub that had been abandoned. She took that cub in to hibernate with her and then emerged a complete boss-babe. She is also super cute.” 

Should You Become a Bear Cam Simp?

If you’re wanting to experience the majesty of a brown bear, Isabel thinks these cams are the best place to go. She even thinks this live stream is better than going to Alaska to meet them.

“The bear cams are a win-win-win situation,” said Isabel. “You get to watch the bears, the researchers get to track the bears, and the bears are left undisturbed. More importantly, you won’t die from being mistaken for salmon.” 

Isabel also believes that this park should be left undisturbed for the sake of the fish. She wants them to be bear food and not be commercially farmed.

“For three years in a row, there have been a record number of salmon in Katmai. This salmon must be protected to ensure the healthy ecosystem of the park and the happiness of the bears. I hope those salmon wriggle in the water for many years to come.”

If you want to live stream these bears, click the link here for their cams.

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