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Salmon Migration and Reproduction, Completing a Lifelong Mission

This is the salmon that have completed their reproductive mission, and they have passed on their hope to the next generation at the cost of their lives.

Migration To Birth Place

Red Salmon
Red Salmon

They are red salmon, moving upstream, preparing to complete their only mating in a lifetime. After living in the sea for three years, they will cross hundreds of kilometers of the ocean, guided by the Earth’s magnetic field, and use their amazing ability to recognize the taste of rivers to identify the rivers that hatch them. Red salmon is one of the few fish species in the world that can enter fresh water from seawater. In the following month, they will head upstream for 200 kilometers, passing through Lake Iliana before reaching their spawning ground, which is also the last journey of their lives.

Salmon Migration and Reproductio
Salmon Migration and Reproductio

When they enter the river, they stop eating and focus all their energy on fighting against the water flow. Even the turbulent rapids and high waterfalls could not stop their return. After four weeks on the journey, their bodies underwent changes. The side begins to appear red, which is also their breeding color. The redder the color of salmon, the stronger it becomes. After a few weeks, they completely changed, the male’s chin had turned into a hooked shape, which they would use to compete for a mate.

Bears Standing on The Way

Bear Eats Red Salmon
Bear Eats Red Salmon

And the first challenge they face will soon come, bears rely on the annual salmon migration to fatten up for the upcoming winter. During the salmon migration season, an adult bear can eat nearly 40 salmon per day. However, only a small number of salmon were eaten. A few kilometers upstream, the salmon arrived at Lake Iliana, where their spawning grounds were not far upstream. However, they would stay here for a few days, waiting for the female’s eggs to complete their development

Freshwater Seal Hunter

Freshwater Seal Hunt Red Salmon
Freshwater Seal Hunt Red Salmon

Because of this, it also provides another opportunity for predators to take advantage of. There is a type of freshwater seal living in the lake, which is the second challenge that salmon need to face. Even they haven’t eaten for 8 weeks. But they were still able to swim faster than predators, and the desperate seals changed their hunting strategy. They began playing a lying down game, waiting for the salmon to come to their mouth. This is a very rare behavior, and even more surprising, they ignore the male fish swimming around their mouths and specialized in catching the female fish that nurtured high calorie eggs. But if one salmon is eaten, thousands of salmon will pass safely through.

Reproduction Finally

Salmon Pair Up
Salmon Pair Up

During their long journey, they were covered in bruises and finally arrived at the spawning ground as they wished. Once they arrived here, males and females would pair up to fight for the best nest site, and then complete their first and last mating in their lives.

Salmon Give Life For Next Generation
Salmon Give Life For Next Generation

Salmon migration has always been a one-way journey. In order to complete this epic migration, they sacrificed everything, including life. and the nutrients in their decaying bodies, will nourish this water area, this sacrifice ensures that the next generation can have the best starting point. It’s like being designed, swimming to the sea untill back home to lay eggs, then staying in the place of birth forever. This can be considered a falling leaf returning to its roots finally.

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