Paparazzi these days will do literally anything for the shot. Even go snorkeling underwater every night for four years.
This photo, shared on bioGraphic yesterday, shows a hungry Eurasian beaver swimming with a poplar branch, on her way to feed her pups in western France’s Loire region. Other people have taken photos of wet beavers before (this is the internet, after all), but this one is quite exceptional. And apparently, it was a tough shot for photographer Louis-Marie Preau to get.
It took [Preau] four years to successfully capture this intimate scene. Each evening, wearing snorkeling gear and weights, he would lie motionless on the riverbed for two to three hours. Finally, one evening, his patience paid off. Preau had only just plunged into the water and positioned himself when this adult returned with a freshly harvested poplar branch to feed to its three young kits.
The Eurasian beaver was common before humans came along, but we decimated its population beginning in the medieval era. By the start of the 20th century, there were roughly 1200 individuals remaining, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Mostly, humans hunted the beaver for its the pelts, meat and castoreum, a secretion from glands near their butts used as food flavoring.
But conservation measures have since brought beaver populations back—today, they’re rapidly expanding.
Beavers are dank for more than just their butt juice, though—as a keystone species, they have a strong effect on their environment. Their dams can create wetlands on which other animals rely, and even clean the water and reduce erosion, according to an Animal Protection of New Mexico fact sheet.
Anyway, go off to feed your kits, little dude.