Photo of fish frozen in wave blows up social media

Unfortunately, the winter proves to be a harsh time for animals. Earlier this month, a fox had the unfortunate fate of falling into a frozen river. Now, another animal has perished due to winter conditions.

The U.S. Department of Interior shared a photo of fish frozen in a wave:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' National Wildlife Refuge System also shared the photo on their Facebook page:

While the photo is from two years ago, it's once again circulating the internet. The fish are frozen in a four-foot wall of ice in South Dakota's Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge. Photographer and kindergarten teacher Kelly Preheim snapped the photo in 2015.

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Preheim explained how the haunting sight occurred in a comment on Facebook. Due to a drought, the lake levels were low. The fish likely perished due to a lack of oxygen.

"When thick ice (particularly if it gets covered with snow) forms on a lake's surface, it blocks out the sun, and the algae/plants don't photosynthesize and produce oxygen, thus depleting oxygen levels," she wrote. "If the aquatic plants and algae subsequently die and decompose, this also uses oxygen, further depleting levels, so the fish essentially suffocate from lack of oxygen."

When the fish died, their bodies rose to the surface. They attracted tons of birds to feed on. Preheim noted that it was pretty gross: "It was quite a sight and it smelled very fishy out there for quite awhile."

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