IN THE DARK COLD of Lake Rotoiti, the serpentine longfin eel prepares for her final journey.

For 80 years, she’s prowled the lake’s depths, stalking fish, koura and ducklings. At well over a metre in length, she has long ago grown into her role at the top of the food chain. Her eyes, once small and beady, have become large, orb-like, with an ocean blue ring surrounding the pupil, and her head has elongated to a point, hydrodynamic and sleek – she is ready to breed.

As the rains of autumn begin to fall, swelling lakes and rivers, the longfin sets

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