An impressive video shows how salmon swimming in waters made unlivable by a heat wave in the northwest United States. Salmon in the Columbia River were exposed to very high water temperatures. They have open bloody burns and a white fungus growing on their skin. The photos were shared by a non-profit organization that closely monitors the river.
The salmon was moving downstream, from the ocean, to lay eggs. The animals suddenly changed course, said Brett Vanden Heuvel, a researcher at the Columbia River Keeper. The fish swam to a nearby tributary. According to VandenHeuvel, “It’s as if they were trying to leave a burning building.”
The water temperature, 21 ° C, is unbearably high for fish. VandenHeuvel: “Swimming in this is like someone running a marathon in temperatures above 40°C. With the difference that a person has that choice, but this salmon has to do it. Either they succeed or they die.”
The heat wave was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the people behind the Columbia Riverkeeper have witnessed the river’s temperature rise for years. According to VandenHeuvel, this is due to the damming of the river. That is why they are now working to remove four dams, so that the natural course of the water can bring the temperature down again. “This is a sad look at our future. But it is also a call to action. If this video doesn’t make you think, I don’t know what it will be.”
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This is it. What is a heat wave?