Six cameras installed on Canada’s Hanson Island are giving viewers the opportunity to watch orcas as they swim and feed, and thanks to new technology, you can even receive alerts when the orcas are active.
The cameras all capture different angles of the surrounding sea, where families of orcas have gathered for generations, and they complement the acoustic focus of OrcaLab, a land-based whale research station.
Paul Spong founded the lab in 1970 to study marine life without interfering with the animals or their habitat, and he’s developed a technology that monitors orcas’ positions. His remote network of hydrophones covers about 20 square miles of orca habitat and tracks the animals acoustically, enabling OrcaLab to know when the animals are within range of the webcams.
The waters surrounding Hanson Island are home to more than 150 orcas, which live in lifelong family groups that have unique dialects passed down through generations. However, these differences in dialects don’t inhibit orcas in different pods from socializing and communicating.
Members of family groups are rarely out of hearing range of one another, and they communicate via whistles, clicks and calls that echo many miles through the ocean.
“Given the strength of their attachments to each other, this must have a very calming effect on them,” reads the OrcaLab website. “Communication is an essential ingredient of the glue that brings harmony to the orca community.”
The live orca cams were made possible by philanthropic media organization explore.org, which has more than 50 other live-streaming nature and wildlife cameras.
“When people are inspired to fall in love with the world again, they are more likely to be better stewards of the planet,” explore.org founder, Charlie Annenberg, said in a news release.