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Government Video Website of the Week: Manatee Camera

Live video streams from the entrance to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.

In efforts to protect the Florida manatee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have installed a surveillance system—Manatee Camera—at the entrance to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River.

The waterway is known to attract large numbers of manatees during the colder months and is therefore a popular spot for manatee viewing. To protect the manatees, the USFWS has established several areas around the springs where entry is prohibited. Additionally, the FWC set up a camera that streams live video to a public website, allowing remote viewing of manatee activity.

The public can view the video, but there are also a few technical details to know first. Only 30 people can access the website at one time. If additional people try to access it, they will receive an error message until spaces open up. Visitors will be prompted to install ActiveX controllers the first time they visit the website. Viewers can also click on the camera icon to take a snapshot of the video. In addition, the camera is fully solar-powered and will operate only from dawn to dusk.

The public can see the live images by visiting the following link and clicking on the “Single” tab at the top of the page, and it may take several minutes after clicking the “Single” tab before visitors are prompted to install ActiveX.

Because of the FWC and USFWS efforts to protect manatees, yet keep them accessible via the Internet, it is Government Video’s Website of the Week.