Friday, November 8, 2013

SeaWorld penguins star in live video stream

SeaWorld's often comical penguins can now virtually waddle into your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Live streaming of the penguins, starting today at, will allow fans of the tuxedoed water birds to watch the four species of penguins at the Orlando theme park's Antarctica attraction around the clock.
Three cameras will stream the antics of the park's 250 penguins, even under water.

"The gentoos [species] can swim over 20 miles an hour. You can see them flying past the camera," said Michelle Hartman, who works with penguins at SeaWorld Orlando. "You can see them do a lot of their feeding underwater … different kinds of fish, squid and krill."

An above-ground camera will provide audio of the penguins' trumpet-like sounds, Hartman said.

Expect baby penguins to enter the picture within a few months, when the breeding season ends.
"You'll be able to see the fuzzy chicks running around," Hartman said. also offers educational and conservation information, downloadable games and the chance to interact with other users. Viewers can snap and share pictures from the video feed.
Even though they're on stage, the penguins should behave pretty much the way they do in the wild, said Dee Boersma, a University of Washington biology professor who specializes in sea birds.

"They are in a predator-free environment, with plenty of food and time on their hands. So they're going to do what penguins do," she said. "They're going to swim, they're going to gather rocks, they're going to spend time on their nest sites and they're going to raise chicks."

Live streaming of animals is increasingly common around the globe, from cheetahs, gorillas and octopuses at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to elephants on the plains of Africa. During six weeks of live streaming last year, penguin fans spent 1.5 million hours watching the birds at SeaWorld in San Diego.

AnimalVision cameras also will monitor stingrays at SeaWorld in San Antonio and turtles at the park in San Diego. The company plans eventually to live-stream creatures at other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment attractions, which could include Orlando's Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens in Tampa.


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