Shut in? Feeling anxious? Are you looking for a diversion for the children? Or yourself?
Until at least April 8, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. But you can still visit its famous animals – from sea otters and sharks to hypnotic moon jellies – thanks to 10 live webcams. And online crowds are growing fast.
“Our webcams are still streaming,” Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said in a tweet Saturday. “Until we reopen, you can watch sea otters, swing with the kelp forest, find tranquility with the frosts, and search for wildlife in Monterey Bay.”
Free webcams are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, on the aquarium website The Facebook page, his Youtube channel or the aquarium site, at www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams.
The webcams feature the Sea Otters Reservoir, Kelp Forest Reservoir, Bird Aviary, Penguins, Deep Sea Reservoir, Jellyfish Reservoirs, and live views of Monterey Bay.
Most of the more than 500 aquarium staff work from home. But key employees remain at the Cannery Row landmark to maintain building operations and monitor animal welfare. This includes safety teams, workers who feed and care for animals, and workers who maintain tanks and other facilities.
Sea otters, sharks, sea turtles, fish, birds and other wildlife in the aquarium cannot contract the COVID-19 coronavirus, said Ken Peterson, an aquarium spokesperson.
They are still fed on the same schedule as before.
“The animals are doing well,” Peterson said. “They are receiving the same level of care as before. We are closed on Christmas Day. So it’s kind of like that for them now.
In the middle of a typical day, around 120 people are watching the aquarium wildlife cameras live online at all times. With the coronavirus outbreak and large numbers of workers and students at home, that number has more than increased eightfold in recent days, to more than 1,000, Peterson said.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium isn’t the only one that offers wildlife webcams. Other Northern California institutions that include the Oakland Zoo, which has webcams for elephants, bears and other wildlife, the California Academy of Sciences, which features its coral reef, a penguin exhibit and a live webcam on the Farallon Islands, and the Ventana Nature Society in Big Sur, which features condors in the wild.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to lift people’s spirits,” said Peterson. “We cannot welcome them in our doors but we are always there for them.
On Monday, webcam fans took to the aquarium’s Facebook site.
“I’m watching from upstate New York. Thanks for something to laugh about !!! ” Nancy Rouse wrote as the sea otters rubbed their paws.
“Thanks for sharing this feed! Wrote Toshiko Eng. “Something we can all enjoy during our in-place refuge throughout the county!” Take the stress out! ”
“We need it without baseball, theater or other normal activities,” Stuart Endick wrote on the Moon Jelly Camera. “I wish the jelly cam had TP!”