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Twitch introduces a new stream category for animals

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Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

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.

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