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Photo courtesy of Doug Hajicek

Live Black Bear Den Webcam

Press Release: January 8, 2010, PixController, Inc.

For the first time ever the entire world will have access to a streaming live webcam feed from inside the den of a wild hibernating female black bear named Lily. Located near Ely, MN, researchers say there is a better than average chance she will give birth to 1-pound cubs around mid Jan. The birth of bear cubs has never been filmed in the wild. Film/video producer Doug Hajicek, in conjunction with the North American Bear Center and PixController, Inc., is embarking on this second attempt to do it. 

Dr Lynn Rogers bear biologist and Doug Hajicek a History Channel producer will be teaming up for the den camera installation and will maintain it throughout the winter of 2010. Bill Powers of PixController Inc. designed the custom webcam streaming video and audio technology. Powers is a long-time collaborator on Hajicek’s History Channel series
designed one of the "25 Most Interesting Webcams" for 2007 awarded by EarthCam.

In an attempt to film it in 1999, no cubs were born. That bear, Whiteheart, captured the imagination and hearts of people everywhere through a web feed on Discovery.com and through a documentary “The Man Who Walks With Bears,” on Animal Planet. With every passing day, web viewers and researchers watched with increasing a
nticipation until it was evident the time for giving birth had passed.   

The Whiteheart project was the first use a live webcam as a primary research tool. Now, with improvements in technology from Bill Powers of PixController, Inc., Hajicek’s team, along with biologists Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield from the North American Bear Center, are eager to “turn on the new Lily web-cam.”  Viewers, including the researchers, will be able to witness Lily’s undisturbed activities 24/7. The camera will broadcast a live video feed in infra-red (black & white) in order not to disturb the bears. A sound MIC has also been installed in the den site.

A research cabin, which is about 150 yards from the black bear den site, streams the audio and video feed via an Internet connection to WildEarth.TV out of South Africa.
WildEarth.TV was founded in 2006 by Emily and Graham Wallington with a vision to create a LIVE wildlife webcam channel that simultaneously broadcast on the Internet.

Drawing from their experience, Rogers and Hajicek note that “it’s astounding how active hibernating bears are in their dens.” Before a den cam allowed them to watch an undisturbed bear, they thought hibernating bears simply slept.

Lily is the 2-year-old daughter from June’s second litter. June’s will turn 9 in the middle of January.  June’s mother Shadow will turn 20 at the same time. Shadow, the grandmother of Lily, is the matriarch of the bear clan that lives in this area. Bears seldom use the same den two years in a row. Lily is part of a long-term study of black bear ecology and behavior being conducted by the North American Bear Center. Lily is still within her mother’s territory, so if she has cubs it will be interesting to see how everything works out after the bears emerge from their dens in April. The den is near Ely in northeastern Minnesota, USA, less than 30 miles from the Canadian border

Hajicek has been pioneering the use of wildlife cams since 1999, being the first to videotape a giant squid.  To get that shot, Hajicek used another squid as a “Trojan camera carrier” to carry his camera down to the inky abyss.  Hajicek has placed cameras on rats, wild hogs, wild dogs, sharks, beaver houses, and below Lake Superior, giving people peeks into worlds seldom seen. 

PixController, Inc based out of Murrysville, PA, is a dynamic, high-technology company that designs and manufactures state-of-the-art covert remote surveillance systems. Powers designed the first ever use of remote motion-activated wireless video cameras. This design enabled webcams to be installed in remote areas powered by batteries and charged by solar panels.

 

Watch the webcam as it's installed into the den site on Jan. 8, 2010

 

"Lily" the Black Bear
Photo courtesy of Doug Hajicek

"Lily" the Black Bear
Photo courtesy of Doug Hajicek

Photo courtesy of Doug Hajicek

Click below for Bear Den Webcam



Click here to watch the Black Bear Webcam

 

 




 

 

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