This Little Camera Could Put SeaWorld Out Of Business

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There's never a good reason to plonk an orca in a tank so people can gawk at him - especially now that you can see orcas live in their natural habitat from wherever you are.

Cameras planted in prime viewing spots of wild orca whales are letting people see the gorgeous animals in a way they've never been seen before.

To bring whale-watching to anyone, partnered with OrcaLab to catch these beautiful animals on camera. Viewers can see an orca habitat off the coast of Hanson Island in British Columbia, Canada, making it possible to both enjoy and study the wild animals without interfering with orcas' lives.

Dr. Paul Spong started OrcaLab to help people fall in love with the natural underwater world. "In the 1980s, we developed a network of remote hydrophones that enabled us to detect the presence of orcas in the area surrounding our research base on Hanson Island, and to some extent follow their movements and understand what they were doing," Spong told The Dodo. (A hydrophone is a microphone designed for use in water.)

Now, you don't have to be a scientist to follow orcas' movements.

I watched the orca cam quite a lot as I prepared to write this article. There's a kind of thrill, I noticed, sitting at a desk in a noisy city with the orca cam in the corner of your screen, waiting for a fin to appear.

Screenshot of taken by The Dodo

Even orca-less views are gorgeous and make me feel transported, watching schools of fish move across the screen.

Screenshot of taken by The Dodo

And for the less patient, or those who are strapped for time, there are treasure troves of beautiful footage archived from the orca camera, along with various other cameras located all over the globe. The orca cam is just one of 50 live streaming wildlife cameras that let people strengthen their connection with nature.

As technology for studying animals evolves and becomes more accessible to everyone, the excuses used by amusement parks like SeaWorld for keeping intelligent marine mammals in tiny tanks - like the claim that captivity helps people care about conservation - become more and more obsolete.

click to play video

Learn more about OrcaLab here, or find your own little oasis here.