In Canada, the beaver is a national symbol. This animal is on everything from coins to sweatshirts to flags and more. It has even been known to rustle up some cattle, too (okay, maybe not exactly...). Either way, that is the North American beaver we're talking about.
Europe has its own species, the Eurasian beaver. Originally, this animal was widespread across the continent. But by the start of the 1900s, this species was in trouble. Centuries of hunting the animal for its pelt, or fur, had reduced its numbers to the point where it was endangered. Today, conservation efforts have helped save the Eurasian beaver, though it is not as common as it once was.
Depending on where you live, you have to really keep your eyes peeled.
You keep busy, I'll keep still
No one knows this better than French photographer Louis-Marie Preau. He grew up exploring wildlife in the French countryside, including beavers. After he once saw one carrying a log underwater to its home, he became obsessed with getting the perfect picture of that same act. Aaaaaand... only four years later (Wow! that took some patience!)... Voila! Here it is!
To get the awesome picture at the top of this post, Louis-Marie used snorkels and a weighted diving suit to allow himself to lay motionless underwater for hours. He did this nightly for years, just hoping for the right chance. Merci, Louis-Marie! We're grateful to get to see such a beautiful picture of a beaver in action.
As a bonus, we would like to share this video from the CBC on a beaver busy on land. Just make sure that you stand back. It's got work to do!