Great Bear LIVE Program

GBEAR is a proud partner of the Great Bear LIVE Program, featuring six remote cameras throughout the Great Bear Rainforest including river estuaries, outer coastal rocks, and underwater seal gardens. With live streaming hosted by our partner, Pacific Wild, the Great Bear LIVE initiative broadcasts daily during daylight hours (PST) and rotate seasonally based on wildlife activity. By sharing the hidden world of the Great Bear Rainforest, Great Bear LIVE connects people with the region we are striving to protect and educates the world about the many threats this pristine ecosystem faces. The video below, produced by our partner Pacific Wild in 2013, gives an overview of the Great Bear LIVE program when it first launched:

Since 2013, we have expanded the program’s reach to four additional sites within the Great Bear Rainforest, including underwater locations. This real-time audio and visual technology gives us unprecedented insight into wildlife behaviour on a threatened coastline. Our cameras provide live video capabilities along rich river systems and outer coast islands, while our network of hydrophones streams audio from six locations from Hakai Pass to Seaforth Channel. In addition, our team uses this non-invasive approach for a variety of research projects, tracking and identifying cetaceans moving through the area and documenting rarely-observed wildlife behaviours.


Salmon Spawning Stream

Salmon are critically important to Great Bear Rainforest ecosystems. As pink and chum salmon make their way back up their natal stream to spawn, we are able to see a sampling of species that are reliant on these fish, including wolves, black bears, eagles and ravens.

One of the best times to watch this camera is first thing in the morning, as wolves and bears follow the shoreline in search of the first meal of the day. Another good time to watch is at low tide. There are large tides in the Great Bear Rainforest, and they flow a good distance up the many rivers and streams in the area. You will notice the tides on this camera as they come in and flood the estuary, leaving dead salmon caught in the grass as they recede. It is easier for wolves and bears to catch salmon at these times because they get trapped in smaller pools and shallow water.

Seal Garden

The Seal Garden is in the same chain of rocky islands as our outer coast camera. It is a unique place; the islets that surround it create a sanctuary amidst a very exposed and rough piece of ocean. The white shell bottom is almost dry at a low tide, and is thick with different kids of kelp and eel grass. Standing atop one of these islets it is not uncommon to see upwards of thirty harbour seals. 

Below the surface we mainly see harbour seals and a variety of fish swimming around in the kelp and the eel grass. We have seen sea birds swimming past chasing fish, and have seen sea lions, and sea otters as well. The latter two have proven to be somewhat mischevious. Last summer a sea otter tried to steal our hydrophone, and last winter a sea lion ripped the wiper off the glass dome almost breaking the glass and flooding the camera.

Visibility underwater at this site changes from day to day, and is usually best in the winter and colder times of the year. You can tell the difference between low and high tide by looking at how close the kelp is to the camera, and sometimes on very low tides the camera is basically covered in kelp. Viewing of fish is good on lower tides and viewing of seals is better on higher tides when they have more room to swim.

Sandhill Crane Nest

These cranes belong to a small population of Sandhill Cranes that summers along the central and north coast of British Columbia and southeast Alaska. In spring and summer, they can be seen foraging along beaches, but they generally nest and roost in upland wetlands like the bog pool seen on the camera. These cranes winter in central California and on the Lower Columbia River.

Cranes are long-lived, generally mate for life and invest a lot of care in their young. This is likely the same pair that has nested in this small bog complex every year since researchers first discovered the site in 2006. The nest is on a moss islet in a small bog pool. The parents take turns incubating the eggs; the other parent is often seen foraging on intertidal invertebrates on the beach nearby. After a month of careful tending, one egg hatched on June 2, 2015. The other egg did not hatch, which is not an unusual occurrence with crane eggs.