This week we’re looking at some of the most incredible mass migrations in the natural world. With so many amazing journeys to choose from, deciding which ones to explore was far from easy.
Kicking things off today with the marine world, be sure to stay tuned this week to learn more about some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring voyages undertaken by land and air.
Pacific Salmon Run – North America and Canada
All five species of Pacific salmon migrate between freshwater and saltwater during their life cycle. Having made the journey from the freshwater streams in which they are born to the sea, they then return to these freshwater sites to lay their own eggs. Different ‘runs’ exist within the different species of Pacific salmon, with the Adams River sockeye run being one of the most famous. During their strenuous and lengthy spawning mission, the salmon face many different dangers, such as starvation (they do not feed once they leave their saltwater habitat) and hunting by humans, bears, otters and eagles. Man-made dams are increasingly posing a problem to the salmon. As if this was not enough to contend with, the salmon then fight one-another once they arrive at the breeding grounds.
Sardine Run – Southern Africa
This annual extravaganza is one of nature’s most impressive spectacles. The ‘run’ begins in the cool waters south of the African continent, where large shoals of sardines form before moving north into the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean. This mass migration of hundreds of millions of sardines is brought about by the movement of their main food source, plankton. As a cold-water current moves to the north, the sardines have no choice but to follow. This in turn attracts a vast array of predators to the area such as dolphins, sharks, sea birds and the immense Bryde’s whale, creating what has been dubbed ‘the greatest shoal on Earth’. The BBC’s incredible footage of the phenomenon is a truly amazing watch.
By Alex Prior