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Farallon National Wildlife Refuge

Located 27 miles west of San Francisco, the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is composed of three island groups that are home to the largest seabird colony in the continental United States. Approximately 250,000 seabirds representing 13 species and five species of seals and sea lions use the islands. Gray whales, blue whales, and humpback whales migrate past the islands every year. The area is also an important feeding ground for great white sharks. The refuge was established in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.

"Since the islands are not accessible to the general public, the webcam will be a valuable tool not only for scientists, but for casual observers as well," says Dr. Jack Dumbacher, curator of ornithology & mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences and lead scientist on the project. "The wildlife observations that we glean from this webcam will assist with ongoing research, guide conservation decisions, and hopefully inspire citizens to care about this valuable resource right in San Francisco's backyard."

Powered by solar energy and perched on a windswept lighthouse on top of Southeast Farallon Island, the webcam will provide an unprecedented view of the seabirds, seals, and possibly even sharks that call these isolated islands home. The live webcam feed will be accompanied by animal identification guides, Farallones history, and research and conservation information. This exciting new initiative is made possible through a cooperative partnership between the California Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and PRBO Conservation Science.

The first ever webcam on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge can be seen at www.calacademy.org/webcams/farallones .