For animals, especially mammals, they will also migrate a certain distance due to reasons such as reproduction, foraging, climate change, etc. The scale of their migration is definitely greater than that of humans. They have been following this all-too-familiar migration route for at least hundreds of years.
There is only one goal
The migration path of animals is not sweet, and is often accompanied by death, but they never stop moving. For them, migration has only one goal – survival.
Animal migration is divided into two types, cyclical migration and non-cyclical migration. Cyclic migration usually occurs within a certain area and is a relatively normal behavior. When habitat conditions deteriorate sharply (such as a severe natural disaster), animals will choose to migrate non-cyclically. Regardless of the type of migration, the fundamental reason for animal migration is natural selection and survival of the fittest. Species that choose to migrate often leave more offspring than races that do not migrate.
not that simple
Human beings can choose to take various means of transportation according to advance plans, thereby completing the leap between various places on the earth. But for animals, migration is not that simple. However, after thousands of years of evolution, they have still mastered some methods.
Every spring, some migratory birds quickly return to their breeding grounds for breeding needs. In autumn, they move from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds in the south. The migration speed of birds is relatively slow. In order to shorten the time, their migration direction is mostly north-south. Of course, some birds will first migrate east-west, and then fly north-south after reaching the nearest seashore. The migration routes of birds vary from species to species, and they generally migrate along areas near water where food is abundant. Once migration routes are established, they do not change. Birds mainly identify directions based on changes in celestial bodies, the earth’s magnetic field, and memory of geographical routes along the way.
Due to factors such as water temperature, reproduction and foraging, fish will also migrate within a certain range, which can generally be divided into reproductive migration, juvenile migration, foraging migration and seasonal migration.
Unlike horizontal migration, animals in mountainous areas and deep waters have the habit of vertical migration. When the temperature in the mountains drops to a certain level, animals will move to lower altitudes due to cold and lack of food. Many fish spend part of the year in the deep sea in order to breed or hunt for food, and spend the rest of the year in shallow waters. In addition to this seasonal migration, a large number of marine and freshwater plankton also have diurnal vertical migration habits.
migrating air force
The flamingo is a large water bird with bright and colorful feathers, with a body length of 130 to 142 cm. Its feathers are mainly vermilion, especially the feathers at the base of the wings, which are shiny and look like a blazing fire from a distance. However, the red color is not the original feather color of flamingos, but is caused by the plankton they ingest. This waterbird relies on saltwater lakes for life and is particularly sensitive to changes in the lake’s water regime. When the rainfall is too heavy or there is drought and little rainfall, the salt content in the lake will change drastically, which will harm the reproduction of algae. At this time, flamingos will migrate en masse. The alkaline lakes in the eastern part of the Great Rift Valley provide them with sufficient food such as seaweed, and Lake Nakuru in central Kenya is an important stop on their migration journey. In the humid spring, colorful flamingos gather together and cover the rippling lake surface densely. The lake water suddenly turns into a sea of steaming flames, creating a spectacle of “the fire never goes out”.
Monarch butterflies are the only migratory butterflies in the world, and their scale of migration is one of the largest in the animal world. The monarch butterfly is a large butterfly with golden wings and black stripes. It is one of the most common butterflies in North America. Every autumn, more than 200 million monarch butterflies living in Canada fly away from North America and spend the winter in the Butterfly Valley in central Mexico, 4,500 kilometers away. The sight of them sweeping across North America is spectacular. After the monarch butterflies complete their mission of reproducing offspring in Butterfly Valley, they will die. Their offspring will fly back to Canada in March of the following year. Monarch butterflies can accurately identify directions like migratory birds and can fly 80 kilometers per day. The price the monarch butterfly pays to complete its migration is unimaginable: a monarch butterfly cannot fly a distance of 4,500 kilometers alone, and it takes 3 to 4 generations of reproduction relays to complete the flight from distant Canada to Mexico. Then return the same way.
In the Southern Hemisphere, you can see the massive migration of Emperor Penguins from Antarctica every early summer. More than 200,000 emperor penguins have traveled long distances and endured hardships from the coast of Antarctica to the interior to lay eggs and hatch their young. Emperor penguins are giants in the penguin world, with a body height of more than 90 centimeters and a maximum of 120 centimeters, and a weight of 30 to 40 kilograms. They are mainly distributed on the Antarctic continent between 66° and 77° south latitude. However, due to global warming, Antarctic ice melts faster, and scientists believe that the emperor penguin population will become extinct by 2100.
The homeland of salmon (commonly known as salmon) is in Alaska in the United States and the Rocky Mountains in Canada. Every year from August to October, they return to their hometown from the Pacific Ocean thousands of miles away to breed. The migration path of salmon is long and arduous. There are rapids and shoals that block them, as well as predators such as bears and seagulls. Of course, there are also foodies who covet the delicious salmon. Ultimately, only a tiny fraction of the salmon make it back to their home streams—“salmon streams.” After the young salmon hatch, the adult salmon will all die at their migration destination (that is, the place of birth), and their rotting bodies in the water are essential nutrients for the growth of the young fish. When the new generation of salmon reaches adulthood, they will flow down the river again, traveling southward with the tides of the Pacific Ocean. When the spawning season is about to come, they will follow the same route back to their hometown to reproduce their offspring, just like their “parents”. Salmon are born with a “magnetic map” that can sense changes in the intensity and angle of the Earth’s magnetic field, and use this to determine their position in the ocean. What’s even more surprising is that, except during the breeding season, salmon will not live in waters deeper than 20 meters.
Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean 1,600 kilometers northwest of Australia. Every year during the rainy season, red crabs dominate the island. During this breeding season, more than 50 million palm-sized red crabs leave the forest in droves and migrate to the vast beaches of the Indian Ocean, as if controlled by supernatural powers. They are active for several days, and the dense red crabs Crabs cover every path to the coast. During migration, they have to cross the road and carefully avoid all obstacles, including pedestrians.
In Africa, when the rainy season begins, 25,000 zebras will follow the rain, starting from the plains near the border of Namibia and Botswana, crossing the Chobe River, crossing the Okavango Delta, and finally ending up in Enke, Botswana, which is rich in water and grass. Stop at Salar National Park. They stay there for about 10 weeks, feasting on fresh grass and plenty of water before heading back home. With a round-trip distance of 500 kilometers, the Great Zebra Migration is the longest land animal migration known to date in Africa.
The migratory behavior of animals is an adaptive phenomenon, by virtue of which they can meet the environmental conditions they need in a specific period of life. In fact, humans have also had many migration activities: crossing into Guandong, Europeans entering North America… these are all population migrations. Although human migration is not cyclical or continuous compared with animals, migration activities give life on earth a glimmer of hope.