If a wilderness holiday in Alaska is out of your reach, Katmai National Park's Bearcam is the next best thing.

Returning for a fourth year, Explore.com's Bearcam gives viewers the opportunity to get up close and personal with brown bears - without getting mauled.

HD cameras are set up at several locations around the Alaskan park to capture its hundreds of bears and cubs - who are fast becoming social media stars - as they go about their daily duties.

Generally, they can be found catching and devouring salmon as they jump upstream at the picturesque Brooks Falls.

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"We hope people turn to this for inspiration and when they do, they will see lessons these creatures have for us -- about cohabitation, instinct and beauty," said explore.org founder Charles Annenberg Weingarten in a statement.

Past Bearcam streams have featured exactly the kind of drama you'd expect from a reality show, including epic battles for territory and a bear even being killed and eaten.

This year, Explore.com is hosting live chats with park rangers for those who want to know more about these majestic creatures.

There's also a feature to take a snapshot from the live feed, with daily contests for the best picture.

- nzherald.co.nz