WATCH: Perfectly Placed Trail Cam Catches Wolves, Bears, and More Crossing Beaver Dam

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Troy Harrison/Getty Images)

A trail cam set up at a beaver dam in northern Minnesota captured amazing footage over an entire year. The footage includes bears, wolves, and other wildlife crossing the river by way of the beaver dam. The trail camera was set up at a dam near Voyageurs National Park, capturing deer, foxes, beavers, and various birds going about their daily lives.

The video was shared on YouTube by the Voyageurs Wolf Project. In addition to all the wildlife, a human hiker even uses the beaver dam, albeit in a rather strange way. The hiker, seemingly aware of the camera, trots along the beaver dam, stops, scratches behind his ear similar to an animal, looks around, and then trots away. Most likely a funny find for whoever edited the footage.

The video is a compilation of footage from March 2019 to April 2020. The Voyageurs Wolf Project also shared a bit of information on the project and beaver dams in general.

“Beaver dams can be wildlife highways in boreal environments like the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem, allowing all sorts of wildlife to easily cross wetland habitats which might be otherwise difficult to get across,” they wrote in the YouTube description. “While the wildlife is undoubtedly neat, we particularly enjoyed watching the changing of the seasons on this beaver dam! It summarizes life in the Northwoods: cold snowy winters and hot, humid summers with lots of vegetation!”

Trail Camera Shows Wildlife Using Beaver Dam Like Natural Highway

The wildlife near Voyageurs National Park seems to love using the beaver dam to get where they’re going. Dams are extremely important for biodiversity and the environment wherever they are. Beaver dams and ponds create natural habitats for so many species of birds, fish, amphibians, and more.

Compared to areas without beaver wetlands, the biodiversity is not as rich as it is in places that have beaver ponds and dams, according to the official website of King County, Washington. Although beavers bring down trees and sometimes flood wetlands, by doing this they create habitats for other species. By building dams and lodges, beavers create homes for muskrats, mink, and river otters. Fish gather around the bases of the lodges, and some birds roost on top.

Beavers are known as “environment engineers” because of all the work they do to maintain and change habitats and ecosystems, which boosts the biodiversity of an area. Beavers are also known as keystone species because they naturally affect the lives of so many other species.

Additionally, beavers can actually protect ecosystems against climate change just by doing what they naturally do. Studies have shown that rivers downstream of beaver ponds were actually 4.5 degrees cooler than they were upstream. The ponds “recharge groundwater,” which resurfaces colder downstream. With enough beaver ponds and dams, the cooling effects could significantly protect against climate change.