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Goofy 'Bear Belly Flop' Video Means BearCam Season Is Here

Livestreams from Alaska are the safest way to swoon over wild bears.

Video still show a mother bear and two cubs near a waterfall where other bears are standing in the water.
The National Park Service and Explore.org are delivering all sorts of bear goodness via live webcams.
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

I would like to thank the US Department of the Interior for interrupting my Twitter doomscrolling with an important public service announcement: the BearCams are back. I repeat, the BearCams are back. 

The National Park Service has teamed up with livestreaming site Explore.org to offer a series of views of brown bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska. Yes, these are the bears that compete in Fat Bear Week every year. They're now out of hibernation and looking to pack on the pounds by wading into salmon-filled streams.

The Department of the Interior on Thursday tweeted a choice bit of video of bear action in Brooks Falls, calling it a "bear belly flop." The clip shows a bear leaping from the top of a waterfall to make a full tummy splash into the water below. I've been watching it on repeat. 

Explore.org is offering up a bounty of bears for your viewing pleasure. There's even an underwater salmon cam if fish are more your thing. If you get lucky, you might see bears swimming by, too.

There's no wrong way to experience the BearCams. You can sit and stare at one, or jump around between them, or pop into the Explore.org Twitter stream for highlights, like the return of internet-famous bear Otis, the 2021 Fat Bear Week champion.

As I was writing, the camera zoomed in on a bear standing in the water, a seagull just beyond it. The bear waited and waited, watching, and then dipped its head in and pulled out a fat fish to carry to land. For a moment, I was no longer at my computer in my office in the summer in New Mexico. I was on the bank of a river in Alaska, and the day was luminous.