The bears are back on camera at Alaska's Katmai National Park. As warmer weather thaws off large portions of the wilderness and the bears re-emerge from their winter hibernation, the National Parks Service says the live cameras installed in the park are back on for the summer.
Brooks Falls where the camera with the most bear action is set up:
There are seven cameras in the area around the Brooks River, including one underwater.
"Katmai has about 2,200 bears but only about 50-75 typically are in the Brooks Camp area," said Katmai Park officer Roy Wood.
Keep an eye out for recurring characters in the bear-verse, like Holly the bear, captured on camera two days ago swimming with one of her cubs, and who won over bear cam watchers last year by adopting an orphan.
"If you watch them for a little while you'll figure out that there are the villains that everyone loves to hate. We've got some bears that have been known to kill other bears and eat cubs, and then we've got the mothers like Holly, who is much beloved the world over," Wood said.
Each bear in the park is tracked by biologists at the NPS, who assign them all a number—and in some special cases like Holly's, a nickname.
Last year, 16 million people globally tuned into watch them fish, fight, play, and sometimes just stand there, Wood says, compared to around 20,000 visitors who actually make it to the park in person each year. "We haven't seen the numbers really go up, but certainly there's a greater interest in Katmai than there was before the cams went up," he said.
The bears of Katmai have a following on Twitter and Instagram as well.
According to National Geographic, this is the time to watch brown bears, hungry after their hibernation and looking to stock up before the next winter comes:
Dramatic gatherings can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon swim upstream for summer spawning. In this season dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead. In fall a brown bear may eat as much as 90 pounds (40 kilograms) of food each day, and it may weigh twice as much before hibernation as it will in spring.
Grizzly bears, which can grow to eight feet tall and weigh in at up to 800 pounds, are a variety of brown bears and make frequent appearances on the cameras. You might know them best from Grizzly Man, the Werner Herzog documentary about Timothy Treadwell, the man who lived in close quarters with the bears in Alaska for several summers before finally being killed by one.
This is the fourth summer the bear cams are live. But bears are not the only Alaskan creatures the National Parks Service has made streamable into your living room. Meet the Walruses of Round Island: