Melanie Schmitz
June 29, 2014 9:33 am

Looking for another way to lose yourself in an Internet hole? Charles Weingarten and his colleagues at Explore.org have you covered.

Weingarten is the founder of Explore, an organization dedicated to showcasing documentaries and live-feed footage of wildlife around the globe. Since its inception, Explore has accrued nearly 100 million hours of wildlife footage which it showcases on its website. Basically, you can pull up their site and watch wild animals doing their thing in their natural habitat at any hour of the day.

“At Explore, we are archivists,” Weingarten explains on the Explore website. “We strive to create [things] that allow the viewer to join us on our journey as we go on location and experience what unfolds.”

Explore is also invested in helping other people set up their own live-cams. In 2012, Roy Wood, Katmai National Park Ranger and Chief of Interpretation, was having trouble setting up his own live-feed of the Park’s famous Brown Bears when a representative from Explore contacted him.

“What he explained to me was that he and Charlie [Weingarten] had been putting these cams everywhere and they were looking for the next big bear,” Wood told the website Mashable. “They had pandas. They had polar bears. What’s next? Brown bears.” The organization not only partnered up with him, they also provided him with a grant for $150,000 to hire additional staff members, paid for the Internet service and found workers to install the nine, outdoor-friendly cameras.

Wood’s live feed now gets up to 20,000 simultaneous views, according to Mashable’s Seth Fiegerman. That’s just shy of the number of people who visit the park annually. Both Wood and Explore hope that the live streams raise more awareness for the beauty of nature and wildlife.

In addition to its popular bear live stream, Explore also broadcasts puffins in Maine, sharks in California, Beluga Whales in Manitoba, bison in Saskatchewan and Honey Bees in Bavaria. They even have a “Pipeline Cam” that documents the amazing, turquoise waves in Oahu, Hawaii. Currently, they are also reviewing proposals for Antarctica and Australia and hope to install more underwater feeds soon.

Weingarten remains hopeful that the live stream footage will help viewers embrace their wanderlust and prompt a desire to explore the world around them. “Hopefully it will make you want to get out there—and if not ‘out there,’ at least under a tree or at the local park,” he told Mashable. “It could be the future of conservation. I think of it as the future of national parks.”

You can check out Weingarten and Wood’s live feed action at explore.org.

Featured image and additional images via Explore.org.

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