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Twitch introduces a new stream category for animals

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For years, Twitch streamers have been pointing their cameras at their pets, their farm animals, and even their bees — broadcasting the lives of animals for hours and hours a day. Now the Amazon-owned streaming service is finally recognizing the number of animal streamers on the platform, kicking off its “Animal Week” with a new category: ”Animals, Aquariums, and Zoos.”

“Historically, animal streams run across a variety of categories: ASMR, Travel & Outdoors, Just Chatting, Science & Technology, Music and Pools, and Hot Tubs & Beaches,” Twitch wrote in a blog published Monday. “The time has come to give our animal friends, and the people who — literally — love to see them, a good home. That’s correct, we’re launching an Animal category to kick off Animal Week on Twitch.”

I wrote about a few different animal streams back in 2019, highlighting some of my favorites: watching baby goats, feeding chickens, and observing bees. The streams were never intended as a replacement for being out in nature, but they are a way to feel closer to the natural world. A lot of animal stream fans told me these communities feel like “sanctuaries” for them; they’re a place for observation — and sometimes interaction — that someone might not otherwise get to experience.

The number of streams, and people watching those streams, has only grown since then. Just this morning, I’ve got a stream open where I can watch otters at the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in Canada; the three otters are floating around on their backs and playing in gentle waves. The ambient noise is quite nice, too — I can hear the water sloshing around the enclosure. Elsewhere, there are cameras focused on squirrels, bunnies, goats, bees, kittens, dogs, turtles, ducks, fuzzy spiders, and even a barn owl.

Twitch said it’s working with “zoos, aquariums, and animal non-profits” to bring awareness to environmental and conservation issues these animals and our world face in the midst of a climate crisis.

Twitch is promoting a full lineup of animal streams during Animal Week, including broadcasts from a South African animal reserve and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.