It took four years lying underwater to get a perfect shot of a Eurasian beaver

For four years, photographer Louis-Marie Preau would lie motionless underwater for hours at a time to get this perfect shot of a Eurasian beaver carrying a branch back to its lodge.

Equally as impressive as Preau's efforts were the efforts to pull these delightful creatures back from near extinction. Via bioGraphic:

Prized for both their fur and their castoreum—a scent-gland secretion once believed to cure everything from headaches to hysteria, Eurasian beavers were nearly hunted to extinction by the middle of the 19th century. In France, the species (Castor fiber) was nearly wiped out entirely, with the exception of a small population of about 100 individuals in the lower Rhone valley. But a combination of local hunting prohibitions and reintroduction programs brought these animals back from the brink, and there are now more than 14,000 beavers in the country.

Mealtime Swim (bioGraphic via TreeHugger)