Watch the largest polar bear gathering in the world live via HD webcam

Every autumn, around 1,000 of the world's estimated 20,000 polar bears make their way to Churchill, Manitoba, a small town situated on the shore of northeastern Canada's Hudson Bay. There, the polar bears wait for the bay to freeze over so that they can hunt for seals and other marine mammals, and accumulate fat stores that they will use to survive the following summer.

For years, the small town's annual polar bear gathering has been drawing tourists to the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, where they can observe the wild animals up close and personal from the safety of a tundra buggy. But this year, management officials have established two live HD video feeds of the gathering that allow you to watch for polar bears pretty much whenever you feel like it, all from the warmth and comfort of your own home.

Watch the largest polar bear gathering in the world live via HD webcam

The video feeds have been made available through a partnership between CNN.com/Live and Explore.org, and both of them can be accessed here. One of the cameras is actually mounted on a buggy that actively roves the Churchill tundra tracking polar bears and other species during the daylight hours, and camera operators frequently zoom in to get a better look at the animals they come across. In other words, this is definitely something you'll want to keep open in one of your browser tabs throughout the days and weeks ahead.

According to Polar Bears International, the ice-free period in Hudson Bay has increased by an average of 20 days in as many years, robbing the bears of valuable seal-hunting opportunities; and the U.S. Geological Survey projects that two-thirds of polar bears will disappear by the year 2050, as climate change melts sea ice.

You can catch the live feeds over on Explore.org. Keep in mind the best viewing times are between 8:30 and 17:30 Central Time.

Top image via USFWS. Mother, cubs and buggy via tundrabuggy.com