The Great Salmon Run is a part of another David Attenborough + BBC special called “Nature’s Great Events.” This episode profiles millions of pacific salmon making an incredible journey from the sea to the mountain streams where they were born, to reproduce.
The event is very important to the entire ecosystem. As the salmon make their way upstream, they provide much needed food to the grizzly bears who make their way down the mountain to fatten up for the winter.
They keep traveling up till they reach the exact spots where they were born. Here, they reproduce and die – the effort involved in making the 4000 odd kilometer journey is all too much. Even in death, however, they are crucial. The grizzlies again benefit greatly from the easy prey along with the animals around the forests. These animals often leave dead salmon near the trees – this, in turn, provides vital nitrogen and minerals for the trees in the forest. And, the dead salmon in the water provide necessary nutrients for the new born fish they spawned.
It is an incredible documentary.
Every time I watch these documentaries, I wonder if these events will last beyond the next two decades. Global warming is fundamentally changing the pattern of the ocean currents. Pesticides and plastics in the water, on the other hand, are making conditions harder for the fish. Every time we mess with a part of the ecosystem, we end up messing with the entire web that is dependent on the one piece we affected. This is the part that makes me sad.
On the up side, I hope more people watch these documentaries and understand that the threats around climate change are real. Maybe we could all begin by taking small steps to instill more environment friendly behaviors, where possible. Maybe if a few more of us paid attention to recycling, if a few more of us kept our eyes open to the prospects of saving energy, then we will go on to make more energy friendly decisions when the stakes get bigger.
We might soon be left with no choice but to do just that.