Photo: fizkes via 123RF

When travel came to a halt during the COVID lockdown and local zoos were closed, many turned to wildlife webcams as an alternative to allow people to view animals in their habitats from home.

Even now, as visits to zoos are possible again, these live streams provide opportunities to look in on the lives of animals across the country and world. Unlock incredible experiences with these recommendations for virtual exploration

In the Wild

Africam has free live streams of areas in the African bush to view elephants, impalas, ostriches, crocodiles, and other animals in their natural habitat. Check out the community snapshot section for recently spotted animals. Monthly subscriptions promote wildlife awareness and conservation efforts and allow ad-free access to premium cameras and ongoing and expanding webcam experience. 

Explore Live Nature Cams has one of the best selections of live cams in the wild. Watch bears catching salmon at Brooks Falls in Alaska’s Katmai National Park or Underwater Manatees at Homosassa Springs. Spot a bald eagle at one of these nesting sites or maybe catch sight of a polar bear on the tundra. 


The California Academy of Sciences has a mission to reverse biodiversity and habitat loss to fight climate change and restore critical ecosystems—and our place within them. Their webcams include an African penguin colony, a Philippine coral reef exhibit, the world’s deepest living indoor reef, and a Farallon Islands live webcam. There are also guides to the most common animals in the area and ways to learn about and support conservation efforts. 

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands, and the human role in their future. Their webcams provide up-close views and insights into their behavior through pack logs, including the introduction of new wolves. 

Perhaps the feeders in these webcams aren’t entirely natural habitats. But watching tiny hummingbirds slow down for a sip is quite a sight! Here they are in Ecuador!

Photo: langstrup via 123RF

Zoos and Aquariums

The Animals at Home website includes live webcam links to zoos and animal sanctuaries across Australia. Each zoo listing has the names and descriptions of the animals and feeding times for the best chance to see some live action. 

The San Diego Zoo has a dozen live cams, including koalas, baboons, polar bears, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. The cameras are live from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time and then rebroadcast at night. Their panda cam has archived footage of Bai Yun and her son Xiao Liwu who were repatriated to China.

Minnesota Zoo has a gray wolf webcam promoting aggressive protection efforts to bring wolves back to the area. Website visitors can also view river otters at play wrestling and sliding down river banks. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium provides viewers opportunities to watch jellyfish, sea turtles, sharks, penguins, fish, and other marine animals. Some live cams, like the sea otter and penguin, include feeding times. Pre-recorded videos play after hours. 

The Smithsonian National Zoo‘s giant panda, cheetah cub, lion, and elephant live cams stream 24/7. The site includes a photo and video gallery for each live cam plus recent news and frequently asked questions about each animal.

The Houston Zoo’s webcams feature a giraffe feeding platform, river otters, elephants, rhinos, and flamingos. Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens in the United Kingdom features meerkats, penguins, and lemurs. And Edinburgh Zoo’s live cam lets viewers hang out with the panda Yang Guang. 

For more zoo live cams, visit the List of Zoos with Webcams

While not quite the same as visiting zoos and wildlife preserves in person, webcams provide educational and engaging opportunities for animal lovers of all ages. If your kids are going to spend time on their screens, it might as be to watch the peaceful and relaxing sounds and sights of nature.