The Formosan landlocked salmon is well on the path to population recovery at Taichung's Cijiawan Creek, one of the few places where it has been found. Following years of conservation efforts, the creek has become a natural spawning site for the rare salmon. Researchers say some 5,000 salmon were counted there last year. That's nearly the maximum carrying capacity of the creek.
In this behind-the-scenes look at conservation work, researchers strapped into wetsuits crawl along the bottom of Cijiawan Creek as they conduct a census of a national treasure.
The creek basin is home to Formosan landlocked salmon. At this section of the creek, researchers have found a clear deep pool and they’re counting up the fish one by one.
Shei-pa National Park administration
We went down to the stream to tally them up one at a time. This means it’s a large one. This is medium. This is the number of fish. And this is small. That’s how we report what we see.
Efforts to protect the Formosan landlocked salmon are working. Last year conservationists counted 5,059 salmon. That figure is close to the 5,800 salmon that the creek can support, they say.
Experts say that flooding from typhoons has a critical impact on the salmon population. Typhoon Saola in 2012 and Typhoon Soulik in 2013 had reduced the number by two-thirds. But since 2015, there’s been a drop in the frequency of typhoons, and that’s helped the endangered species come back from the brink.