Tens of thousands of salmon have died while migrating to their spawning grounds due to a drought in British Columbia, Canada.
A research team from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia that has been monitoring the salmon run every autumn discovered the dead salmon while carrying out a check in Neekas Creek on Sep. 29
Video captured by one of the researchers showed thousands of carcasses of dead pink and chum salmon piled on top of each other in the creek in Indigenous Heiltsuk territory.
Allison Dennert, one of the researchers, told the BBC that the extreme drought and low water levels in the river most likely led most of the salmon to choke to death.
Dennert also said that as there was only one day of rain in the past month, the majority of salmon may have decided to swim upstream that day.
However, they may have suffocated as there were too many fish in very little water and a lack of oxygen.
She told Gizmodo that the smell of the dead salmon was so strong they had smelled it before seeing the fish, and they had to cover their faces.
Researchers had tallied at least 65,000 dead pink salmon from the mass die-off as of Oct. 7, according to the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, CBC News reported.
“We see pre-spawn mortality on [an] annual basis. But never to this degree,” William Housty, the conservation manager with the Heiltsuk Nation who tweeted the video, told the Guardian.Part of British Colombia are experiencing the warmest and driest September on record, leading to a prolonged wildfire season and intense water shortages, according to CBC.