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.


"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