Two beavers sleep peacefully in their den on Steep Creek in Juneau, Alaska, never realizing they are being watched via a hidden infrared camera. Hundreds of viewers tune-in to a live video feed on the U.S. Forest Service YouTube Channel throughout the day to see the beavers come and go, breathing rhythmically as they nap and then stretch, chew and scratch an occasional itch.
Although the beaver cam is now an established fixture at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, it started out of simple curiosity according to Pete Schneider, a natural resource specialist for the Tongass National Forest. He and fisheries biologist Don Martin first experimented with a beaver cam in 2004 after they saw a cache of food in front of a beaver lodge on Steep Creek. It was a sure indication that beavers, who have a tendency to move around, were actually using the lodge at the time. They decided to run electricity through a conduit to that location in order to power an infrared camera.