There are days when the world feels like it’s at a tipping point, and you want to be there to watch history made.
Then, there are days, perhaps even today, when all you really want — nay, deserve — is to settle your weary eyes on one of the most pleasant scenes known to humankind: a bevy of healthy, rambunctious, carefree kittens.
At Explore.org, website users can browse livestreams of captive and wild animals from all over the world, from the adorable to the abominable, such as dogs, bears, sharks, bats, alligators, otters and more.
At this very moment, nearly 400 viewers agree that watching kittens nap live is more rewarding than televised news. The therapeutic kitties come courtesy of Kitten Rescue, a sanctuary in Los Angeles, California. Who rescued who?
Meanwhile, a camera at the Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa, where they’re seven hours ahead of Eastern Time, has garnered an audience of 470, despite the fact there are no elephants currently in the frame.
It’s peak escapism for the fraught digital landscape, with positive mental-health effects rooted in science. Studies have shown, second to actually being outside, that even looking at images of the outdoors can be an effective mood-booster. A survey of 104 people, for research published in the journal Australian Forestry last year, found that 40% felt more “relaxed and grounded” and “interested.”
No question, this uneventful nature scene could be just the intervention you need during a year characterized by an unbroken stream of bad news.
“Tell Mr. Bear how you’re feeling today,” read Wednesday’s post from the Explore.org community Facebook page, alongside a clip of a reclining polar bear snacking on tundra kelp from one of their livestreams. “He has time.”
“Appalled, Disgusted. That’s how I’m feeling. Mr Bear however, doesn’t seem to care much,” said one follower.
“Mr. Bear is in your corner, Patricia,” the account responded.
“You look relaxed,” wrote another viewer. “I am a bit on edge but hopeful as our ballots continue to be counted. Feeling a lot more relaxed after watching you.”
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