A black bear in Minnesota is believed to be days away from birthing cubs, and the event could have a worldwide audience--thanks to bear researchers who have set up a video camera in the three-year-old bear's den.
"Jewel is showing all the signs of preparing to give birth as her older sister Lily did," Lynn Rogers, senior biologist at the Ely-based Wildlife Research Institute, said in a written statement released by the institute and its partner, the North American Bear Center. "The den cam video is showing her active and raking in bedding. It could be any day."
Lily became an Internet sensation two years ago when she gave birth in front of a worldwide audience via another webcam set up by the institute. More than 25,000 people watched Lily give birth, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Black bears, whose scientific name is Ursus americanus, are solitary animals most commonly found in forests. Despite their name, not all black bears are black. They can be brown, blond, bliush-gray, or even creamy white, according to the National Museum of Natural History website.
Female black bears give birth to two or three cubs in mid-winter, according to National Geographic. The cubs are blind and helpless at birth and stay with their mother for about two years.
Jewel's webcam is powered by solar panels and make use of infrared technology to provide clear black-and-white images even in darkness. The cam hasn't shown much activity of late--a glimpse at 7 a.m. Eastern on Monday, Jan. 16 revealed pretty much what you'd expect of any hibernating bear, with Jewel curled up and dozing peacefully.
But the limited activity hasn't dampened Roger's enthusiasm.
"It's incredible what we are learning from the bears," Rogers said in the statement. "Before modern technology we could only go by and look in their dens. Now we can watch them for months without disturbing them."
Want a peek at Jewel? Click here.
See below for more live cams, from pandas to penguins.